A rare Harry Potter first edition which cost 50p from a charity shop and is covered in children’s doodles of the boy wizard is set to fetch thousands at auction.
The tatty copy of The Philosopher’s Stone was snapped 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 hardback copy was one of only 500 made in the first print run of the novel which was released in June 1997.
Despite the poor condition of the book, which is covered in scribbled drawings of Harry Potter, 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 packed with boxes.
“Around Christmas time, I decided to contact Hansons Auctioneers to check whether it was a first edition.
“They confirmed that it was – a nice surprise to say the least.”
The book is going under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on Wednesday (9/3).
The price of a first-edition Harry Potter book can vary wildly depending on condition.
A mint-condition copy which is also being sold is expected to fetch between £40,000 and £60,000.
Jim Spencer, books expert at Hansons, said: “In essence, we have two first issue hardbacks – one carefully preserved and unread, the other thoroughly enjoyed and read to death.
“When it comes to condition, we’re looking at two very different books. One is like new, as good as it gets.
“The other has been read until it broke, enjoyed countless times, even joyfully illustrated by its young fan.
“The question is, which one was loved the most? Or enjoyed the most? Arguably, the damaged one tells its own important story.
“I always like to imagine historians of the future gazing at something like this, the doodles and naive fan art, the evidence it was read over and over again – it would surely give them a true sense of Harry Potter fever.
“Ordinarily, condition is everything to book collectors, but people who grew up with Pottermania don’t necessarily see bumped corners or peeling laminate – they see history.
“That said, 300 of the 500 first issues were sent to schools and libraries, and it was ultimately a children’s book, so a premium is certainly 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 doodled version has a humble starting price of £2,000 to £3,000.
“I suppose it’s a lesson in what not to do with a Harry Potter first edition – don’t scribble all over it then give it away.
“But the people who originally owned it would have had no idea of its potential value today. It was bought for a child to enjoy and love.
“As for the seller, his first edition may not be worth tens of thousands of pounds but it could still make him a sizeable return on a 50p investment.”
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