Your old Harry Potter book could be worth as much as $40,000
This is how to find out if you’re sitting on galleons
Everyone has a Harry Potter book stashed away. And those who could stand to part with theirs could make serious money, especially if they were an ‘early adopter’ and got into Philosopher’s Stone before it was cool.
Writing in his book J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013, author Philip J. Errington explains that the first few books regularly appear at auction, and sell for thousands of dollars if they’re in good condition. First editions, and those with misprints or special illustrations are worth as much as $40,000.
The most valuable book is the original: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (UK edition), which features Harry standing in front of a train.
Here’s how to find out if you’re sitting on big galleons.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Philosopher’s Stone in the UK)
The US version was re-titled and first published in 1998. The most valuable is the first edition, which is listed on Abebooks for up to $11,500.
- First editions will have the number line of “1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 8 9/9 0/0 01 02,” on the copyright page
- They must also have “Printed in the U.S.A.23″ and “First American edition.
Prices for later editions in good condition can get three figures too.
For the UK edition you want a hardcover, first edition printings from 1997 – there were only 500 published, and 300 were put in libraries. This is what to look for:
- The print line (the series of numbers of the copyright page) must read “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1”
- The author is credited as “Joanne Rowling”, not JK
Prices vary, but there are some listed on Abebooks for as much as $40,000 ($28,000). A rare first edition was sold for $26,000 (£19,000) at auction back in 2007. Paperback first editions of the Philosopher’s Stone also have four-figure pricetags.
Even if you got into Harry Potter a bit later, deluxe editions from 1999 are also in demand. Prices range from $500 to as much as $2,500.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
This second book was released in 1998, when Harry Potter was yet to go massive. Hardcover first editions can go for $8,400, according to Abebooks. Signed deluxe editions can get upwards of $1,400.
Scholastic’s American first editions are generally priced in three figures but signed copies are worth more.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Something went wrong with the print run and “Joanne Rowling” resurfaced – that’s valuable. There are quite a few of these floating around, starting at $2,000 and go up to $11,000 for books in perfect condition. other details include:
- First edition imprints can go for $8,500.
- First American editions vary from $150 to $700 for a signed copy.
- They will have the number line “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1” and a block of wrongly aligned text on page seven.
Even second editions of the Prisoner of Azkaban can get you a few hundred dollars.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
By the time she released the fourth book, JK Rowling was writing more books and signing fewer. A signed copy of the Goblet of Fire could get you more than $1,500. There are limited editions with original watercolour illustrations by Giles Greenfield, which can also push the value of the book over $1,500.
Mary GrandPre’s illustrations on the US only edition are super rare as they only printed 25 copies.
As Harry Potter got super popular, the value of the books decreased. If you were lucky enough to get your copy of the Order of the Phoenix or the Half-Blood Prince signed then they’ll be worth several thousand dollars
Buyers are also looking for books accompanied by items such as entrance wristbands or golden tickets from events where JK Rowling conducted a signing.