First edition Harry Potter books have become very valuable. Here is how you can tell if you have an original and what it may be worth:
Identifying a first edition Harry Potter book:
The first Harry Potter book to be published was "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone." Bloomsbury Publishing first printed the book in 1997. A true first edition can be identified using a printing number, which can be found at the very beginning of the book. Bloomsbury Publishing use a reverse number system to identify when a book was printed. If the number ends with one ( for example 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1) you may have a first edition
First edition "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone" books with laminated pictorial boards that are not bound in cloth and feature a shiny cover are very valuable, as only 500 of these books were printed
What effects the value of a first edition?
The value of a first edition depends on a number of factors, including:
- Is the book a hardback? Hardback editions are more valuable than paperback editions
- What condition is the book in? The higher the condition of the book the more it will be worth
- Which book is it? Earlier Harry Potter books are more valuable than later books, so a first edition "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone" will be more valuable than a first edition "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"
- Is it signed? If you have a first edition signed by J. K. Rowling the value of the book can be more than three times higher than an unsigned book!
How much is a first edition worth?
The prices listed below are a rough guide only and should not be taken as a price list for Harry Potter first editions! Only an expert can truly identify the value of a Harry Potter first edition. If you think you have a first edition contact a well-known auction house, such as Sotheby's or Christie's
- An unsigned first edition copy of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone" may be worth between £3,000 and £4,000. A signed copy may be as much as £10,000. One of the first edition "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone" hardbacks was sold for £10,575 at a Sotheby's auction in early 2002
- An unsigned first edition copy of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" may be worth between £400 and £600. A signed copy may be worth £1,500
- An unsigned first edition copy of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" may be worth £1000. A signed copy may be worth between £2,000 and £3,000. Note: This book will only be worth this amount if it contains a printing error in the first chapter, where a line was mistakenly placed between "burnt" and "so much" in the extract from "A History of Magic"
- First editions of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" are not particularly valuable because so many were printed
- An unsigned deluxe edition set of the first four books may be worth £1,000 with a signed set worth between £2,000 and £3,000
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