A battered Harry Potter book bought for just 30p has sold for £10,500, after it turned out to be an extremely rare first edition.
The well-thumbed copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was snapped up after a library withdrew it from use.
It turned out to be one of only 500 published by Bloomsbury in 1997 and one of just 300 sent to libraries around the UK.
The savvy buyer recognised its value after Wolverhampton Library decided it was too tatty to lend out, so sold it for pennies.
It was valued at between £3,000 and £5,000 but sparked a bidding war at Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ Antiques in Lichfield, Staffs., on Monday (10/7) before selling for £10,500.
Auctioneer Richard Winterton said: “We’re absolutely delighted with this result.
“The first in the original series of books by JK Rowling, this copy has clearly been well-read and still has its library identification sticker, spine sticker with the letter J, withdrawal stamp and 30p selling price.”
The collector, who has not been named, kept the book in a box at home but believed he lost it when his collection got too big. Tragically, the man died earlier this year aged 55 and the book was rediscovered by his family as they sorted through his belongings.
The man's sister, who asked not to be named, said: "He started dealing in books and memorabilia when he was still at school. He would go to jumble sales and church fairs and would come back with a pile of annuals or comics.
"He would then take them to a second-hand shop in Hednesford to sell or take them in to school to swap with friends. That was his passion from an early age onwards."
The family knew that he had acquired a valuable Harry Potter book but feared it was lost.
His sister added: "When he moved house four years ago he literally put everything into hundreds of boxes, many of which went into containers. We knew that he had got the book but if you asked him to pinpoint it he couldn’t.
“So for the last four years this book has been ‘lost’ and I think we had come to the conclusion that it had disappeared into the ether somewhere. Now it’s come to light again we, as a family, are quite excited."
The book still bears its library identification, spine sticker with the letter J, subsequent withdrawal stamp and 30p selling price.
Mr Winterton added: "It has clearly been well-read, which is most befitting of one of the initial run of books which helped fuel the early popularity of Potter – which, of course, rapidly evolved into a global phenomenon.”
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