Finding the first edition of the first book in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the Philosopher’s Stone, is quite harder than you might guess. Only 500 hardback copies were printed, and 300 of them were sent to libraries.
One of those first-edition Harry Potter books recently made it to auction and was sold for £10,500 (approximately $13,600). Even more fascinating is that the original owner got it for less than $1.
An unnamed book collector purchased it from a library in Wolverhampton years ago for 30p ($0.40) and kept it in a storage container. After he unexpectedly passed earlier this year, his family hired a team from Richard Winterton Auctioneers to check his collection for valuables, and the “ultra-rare” book was uncovered.
Besides being rare, the book also has a typo on the back cover that makes it even more valuable. The name of the book is written without the letter “o” in the word Philosopher’s.
All of this made the book extremely interesting to collectors who entered a bidding war at the auction and caused the opening price of £3,000 to go all the way up to £10,500.
The price would have been even higher if it wasn’t for the poor condition of the book. Just last year, the same book in pristine condition went for $90,000 at an auction.
After the limited first edition, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was re-released and soon became one of the bestselling books of all time. More than 120 million copies have been sold to date.