Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone celebrates its 20th birthday on 26th June 2017 and today the first edition print run of the book is incredibly valuable.
JK Rowling began writing the book in 1990 and finished the manuscript in 1995.
She submitted it to 12 publishing houses all of which rejected it, before it was accepted and published by Bloomsbury on 26th June 1997.
She was allegedly advised to get a day job as she was unlikely to make any money from the book. Bloomsbury did not think Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone would be a great seller and so only initially printed 500 hardback copies of the book and 5,150 paperbacks which were all released on the same day.
These first edition hardbacks are very rare and of the 500 copies published, about 300 copies were sent to schools and libraries and are no longer in a good condition.
This means that the other 200 copies have become quite valuable and especially those which remain unread.
Twenty years ago the hardback book was for sale for £10.99, and today and rare bookseller Peter Harrington estimates that a good first edition of one of these first printed copies would be worth upwards of £50,000.
There were almost 10 times more paperbacks than hardbacks printed and the value of these books reflects this. Twenty years ago the paperback cost £4.99 and today good first edition copies sell for over £4,000.
Is my Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone valuable?
Peter Harrington are frequently asked by customers whether their copy of the book is valuable and explain that to be valuable it would need to fulfill the following criteria:
-The publisher must be listed as Bloomsbury at the bottom of the title page;
-The latest date listed in the copyright information must be 1997;
-The print line on the copyright page must read “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1”, ten down to one, exactly. The lowest figure in the print line indicates the printing. (For instance, if your copy has “20 19 18 17”, it is a seventeenth printing and has no collectable value);
-On page 53 “1 wand” must appear twice in the list;
-The book must be printed in the UK, not Canada, Australia or anywhere else.