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Detail in Harry Potter book that makes it worth $135k

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
It sold for how much? Image: Warner Bros. Pictures
It sold for how much? Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Check your bookshelves - an extremely rare copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has sold for a huge £75,000 ($135,000), eclipsing the asking price.

The first edition had been valued at $54,000 as one of only 500 hardback first editions printed, and one which featured a printing error on page 53, with the phrase ‘1 wand’ repeated. The issue number on the copyright page for first editions is 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1.

The book was sold by a retired British expat from Luxembourg who said he will use the cash to pay off his daughter’s student loans. He originally bought it to help his kids learn English.

Books expert Jim Spencer with a first edition hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Image: Hansons Auctions.
Books expert Jim Spencer with a first edition hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Image: Hansons Auctions.

The book had been on the bookshelf for 21 years when the owner decided to find out if it was a rare edition, before being subjected to a bidding war which pushed the price to $108,000 and £75,000 with the buyers’ premium.

“I was a big fan of the Potter books when I first read them. There are a lot of ethical and human behaviour discussion points in the books and I had a lot of respect for JKR for producing such a polished and nuanced body of work,” the seller said.

“I sent it to Hansons in a tea towel as a little nod to the Hogwarts house-elves, especially Winky and Dobby.”

The book sold to an international buyer over the phone.

The Harry Potter novels earned J.K. Rowling $11 billion, according to Fortune, making the author the first billionaire author.

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