A rare Harry Potter book picked up at a table top sale in Stafford has now sold at auction for £34,200
Three bidders battled it out at Hansons’ Library Auction in Wolseley Bridge this afternoon, on what also happens to be author JK Rowling's birthday (31 July).
Jim Spencer, books expert at Hansons, uncovered the treasure.
He said: “I was called to a client’s house near Stafford to value three boxes of books and there it was – the holy grail of Harry Potter books. I was so excited.
"Every book valuer dreams of finding one of these.
“I was slightly caught in disbelief when I first saw it. I receive a few calls every week from people saying they have a first edition Harry Potter, and it can invariably be ruled out in seconds, or it's one of the titles from later in the series when production was huge because of its success.
“The one we’ve found is a former Staffordshire Library book which is stamped ‘withdrawn from stock’. The vendor came across it around 20 years ago at a table top sale. Various old books were being sold off and the owner bought a handful for £1 each for the family to read on holiday.
“They weren’t sure if it was a Harry Potter first edition but I soon established that it was thanks to some typographical errors that particular version is renowned for.”
The owner, a 54-year-old office worker who did not wish to be named, said: “I bought the book along with three or four others to read on holiday about 20 years ago. I thought nothing of it at the time. I read the book, in fact I’ve read all the Harry Potter series, and then put it away in a cupboard for years.
“I decided to get some books valued and invited Jim Spencer over to take a look. It’s so exciting to think that a holiday read could be worth so much now. It might raise more than enough money to buy a nice new bathroom.”
The book was first published by Bloomsbury on June 30, 1997 after being rejected by several publishers.
Those first editions can be identified by two errors. The back page misspells philosopher’s – it reads philospher’s - and on P53 a list of equipment mentions ‘1 wand’ twice. Author JK Rowling’s name also appears as Joanne Rowling.