Harry Potter: Forgotten First Edition Sells For $84,500

Sometimes people have treasure sitting on their bookshelves and don't even know it and for one family in the United Kingdom that treasure turns out to be a rare first edition hardcover copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first book in J.K. Rowling's wildly popular Harry Potter series. According to Hansons Auctioneers and Valuers (via CTV News) the book is one of just 500 from the very first run published in 1997 by Bloomsbury and it recently sold for around $84,500 at auction.

According to press release from the auctioneer, the book was discovered by Charlotte Rumsey after helping her mother declutter and downsize during lockdown and that the book had been intended to be sold at essentially a trunk sale in Blackpool until she saw another rare Harry Potter book on an episode of Antiques Roadshow, prompting her to call her mother and have her check the details of the volume.

"She took it out of the box and I began reading out the issue points that identify it as first edition," Rumsey explained. "As she turned the pages to check each one, everything seemed to be exactly the same."

Their suspicions were confirmed by Hansons Auctioneers book expert Jim Spencer.

"I'm delighted for the family," Spencer said. "Charlotte said she was hopping about, and the hairs stood up on her warms, when she received my call confirming it was a first issue."

What makes the first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (the book is titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States) so rare is that the majority of the first edition run never made it into bookstores. They were sent to schools and libraries instead.

"Of the 500 copies printed, 300 went to schools and libraries -- so this is a good example of one of the scarcer 200 that went to shops," Spencer said.

First published in the U.K. in June 1997 -- it wouldn't be published in the United States until over a year later in September 1998 -- the book quickly became popular with the series ultimately growing to seven novels and spawning a massive media franchise, including a series of films, video games, theme park attractions, a Broadway show, and more.

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