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For any long time readers of my blog you’ll be aware that I am a massive Harry Potter fan. I’ve read the books and seen the films innumerable times. I’ve been the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. I’ve done the Warner Brothers Studio Tour Twice. I even had a Harry Potter Sweet table at my wedding (if this is something you’d like to attempt for yourself you can read my full post on it here!)
Just today I had to stop myself buying my baby daughter the adorable Harry Potter school uniform outfit, pictured below (two things stopped me – the fact neither myself nor her Dad are in Gryffindor which the colours used represent – we’re Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw receptively – and the fact I’ve already ordered her Halloween costume – she’s going as Toby from the Labyrinth. I might just go as Sarah if I’m feeling brave enough!) Anyway, this post is all about how to tell if you have a Harry Potter First edition.
If you’re anything like me, or you’re around my age you will have likely read the Harry Potter Books growing up. I was 10 when the first book was released in 1997 and although I didn’t read it that year by the time The Order of the Phoenix was released in 2003 I was queuing up outside WHSmith at Midnight dressed in my robes to be one of the first to get my hands on the latest adventures of Harry and the gang.
As an avid reader and one that particularly likes fantasy books at that, I still have all my original Harry Potter Books. Unfortunately for me, none of them are worth anything (I’ve checked!). However, if you still have your copies on a bookshelf somewhere gathering dust there is a possibility one or two of them might be worth something. Also, once you know what to look out for it’s worth keeping an eye out in charity shops and at car boot sales in case you come across a Harry Potter Book that’s worth quite a bit of money.
How To Tell If You Have A Harry Potter First Edition
Firstly it’s important to establish what actually constitutes a first edition. As the book series grew in popularity the later books were printed by the millions even on the first print run, so for the final books in the series first editions are not remotely rare. I actually have first editions of both Deathly Hallows and Half Blood Prince but they’re not worth anything. In this post I’m going to focus on how tell if you have a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone as that’s the one that’s most likely to be worth some money.
If you’re looking for a copy because you’re a collector then it’s worth being aware of the fact there are lots of copies being sold on eBay that aren’t actually proper first editions – they are first editions of later print runs such as the Tedsmart copies and the celebration copies. These aren’t worth much as they are not ‘real’ first edition but often eBay sellers either don’t know the difference or don’t care and are attempting to dupe people.
Be careful to make sure copies are by the first publisher. For the all of the Harry Potter books, the first publisher is Bloomsbury. The first three Harry Potter first edition, first print books can be worth thousands of pounds. The value then decreases incrementally with the second, third and fourth prints, and so on.
Any first editions of collectors editions can be worth a fair amount of money too. It’s also worth noting that any copies signed by J.K Rowling are worth more and can sell for as much as £3000.
How To Tell If You Have A Harry Potter First Edition – Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
As Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone is the first in series, first editions of this are worth the most so this is what we’ll look at first.
The most important thing to look at when trying to ascertain whether or not you have a Harry Potter First Edition is what Print Run it is. As a first edition, it should count down 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. The earlier the print run, the more it’s worth. The very early first editions are all hardback editions designed for libraries and initially there were just 500 released and therefore these can be worth a heck of a lot of money. Apparently there left but even second and there are not many of these editions left making them extremely rare, however, even second and third editions are worth a fair bit of money.
There are three other things to look for when trying to determine if you have a Harry Potter First Edition of the Philosophers Stone
- Is there an old or young wizard pictured on the spine or the back of the book? The young Wizard is much rarer and therefore worth more money.
- On the title page of the book does it say Joanne Rowling instead of J.K Rowling? This was changed in later editions as it was felt the series would be great for encouraging boys to read but they might not want to read it if they thought it was written by a woman.
- Harry’s equipment list for Hogwarts on page 53 – there is a typo in very early editions the word ‘wand’ is listed twice, once at the top and once at the bottom – again this was changed on later editions once the error had been spotted.
Also take a good look at the tagline on the front cover of the book. The earliest editions have a quote from Wendy Coolidge which reads “A terrific read and stunning first novel.” Then, later one’s have a quote from the Telegraph. Later one’s again have smarties book prize quote.
What To Do If You Have A Harry Potter First Edition
If all the above applies and you really do have a Harry Potter First edition there are a few thing you might want to consider. If you’re no longer a Harry Potter fan and want to sell your copy there are several routes you could depending on the edition and what it might be worth. For a first edition later print run that may be worth a few hundred eBay may be the easiest and most convenient way to sell.
If you think you’re copy may be worth thousands an independent valuation followed by an auction may the best way of ensuring you get the full value of your Harry Potter First edition.
Alternatively you may want to keep your Harry Potter first edition either for sentimental reasons or because a few years down the line as copies become more and more rare it could be worth substantially more money than it is at the moment.
How Much Could Your Harry Potter First Edition Be Worth?
Even the tattiest and most well read standard Harry Potter first editions could sell for £20 at minimum (perfect if you find a copy for 99p in a charity shop) and this includes both The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets. Books in better to near perfect condition could sell for as much as £4000 and anything signed or inscribed by J.K herself will be worth considerably more. Print run can also affect the price the books will sell for.
Very early U.S and Australian copies of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ including the deluxe edition can be expected to make around £1800. These were printed in 1998 and 1999.
The Best of The Rest
A hardcover first edition of ‘Harry Potter and The Chamber Secrets’ will often sell for thousands of pounds.
Copies of ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban’ with Joanne on the copyright page instead of J.K can be worth up to £1000. A well looked after first edition copy of this book can usually be worth a few hundred pounds.
Any book signed by J.K Rowing will have a much higher value even if it isn’t an early edition.
By the time the fourth book in the series was released Harry Potter mania had well and truly taken hold and copies were printed by the millions. The are a few copies with a slightly different cover that can be worth up to a £100 but generally speaking, after this point most of the books are worth very little.