Harry Potter casts spell on bidders

The battered, ex-public library first of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone' sold at Forum Auctions for £20,000.

Code locked in a briefcase for two decades, a finely preserved, 1997 first issue of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was finally released this summer after being delivered by its Lancashire owners into the hands of a Derbyshire saleroom.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay

The battered, ex-public library first of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ sold at Forum Auctions for £20,000.

On October 10 it sold for £46,000.

It arrived at the Etwall saleroom of Hansons (20% buyer’s premium) as a result of publicity received when, in July, the auction house sold for £28,500 an ex-Staffordshire Library copy, bought at a table-top sale for £1. A report on that and other copies sold earlier this year appeared in ATG No 2404.

Following that summer success, Hansons’ book specialist Jim Spencer started receiving up to 50 emails a day from people wondering if they had a HP first.

From what became an enormous list of contacts, that locked-up cased first issue appeared and a dozen other JK Rowling books, which totalled well over £15,000, eventually found their way into the recent sale.

Harry up

Potter demand just goes on and on.

On September 25, a restored and re-laminated ex-library first issue with new endpapers made £22,000 at Chiswick Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) and on the following day a very scruffy looking copy of that 1997 first issue made £20,000 at Forum Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).

The latter was also an ex-library example, bearing ink stamps and other evidence of its institutional days, as well as peeling laminate, bumped corners, scratch marks, etc.