A rare first edition of Harry Potter that costs 50 pence at a charity shop and is covered in children’s doodles of the boy wizard is set to fetch thousands of dollars at auction.
The faded copy of The Philosopher’s Stone was picked up by a businessman who had no idea of the book’s value.
He found it in a box in a charity shop in Manchester in November and took it to an auctioneer who discovered it was a rare first edition.
The bound copy was one of 500 copies made when the novel was first printed in June 1997.
Despite the poor condition of the book, which is covered in scribbled Harry Potter drawings, it is still expected to fetch up to £3,000.
The seller, a Manchester businessman who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I didn’t realize it was a first edition when I bought it.
“I just spotted the back cover with the image of the wizard and thought it looked interesting.
“It was only 50p. I found it in one of those traditional charity shops full of boxes.
“Around Christmas, I decided to contact Hansons Auctioneers to check if it was a first edition.
“They confirmed it was – a nice surprise to say the least.”
The book goes under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on Wednesday (9/3).
The price of a first edition Harry Potter book can vary wildly by state.
A mint condition copy which is also being sold is expected to fetch between £40,000-60,000.
Jim Spencer, book expert at Hansons, said: “In essence, we have two bound first issues – one carefully curated and unread, the other thoroughly enjoyed and read to death.
“In terms of condition, we’re looking at two very different books. One is like new, as good as it gets.
“The other has been read till it burst, savored countless times, even gleefully illustrated by its young fan.”
“The question is, which was more loved? Or more appreciated? You could say that the damaged person is telling their own important story.
“I always like to imagine historians of the future looking at something like this, the doodles and naive fan art, proof that it’s been read over and over again – it would surely give them a real sense of Harry Potter fever .
“Ordinarily, condition is paramount to book collectors, but people who grew up on Pottermania don’t necessarily see the dented corners or peeling laminate – they see the story.
“Having said that, 300 of the first 500 issues were sent to schools and libraries, and it ended up being a children’s book, so a premium is definitely going to be paid for anything in reasonable condition.
“The near-perfect example is a remarkable survivor and could well sail close to £100,000.
“The scribbled version has a modest starting price of £2,000-£3,000.
“I guess it’s a lesson in what not to do with a first edition of Harry Potter – don’t scribble on it and then give it away.
“But the people who originally owned it would have no idea of its potential value today. It was bought so that a child could enjoy it and love it.
“As for the seller, his first edition might not be worth tens of thousands of pounds, but it could still bring him a significant return on a 50p investment.”
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