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Is My Harry Potter Book Valuable?

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Published on Apr 25, 2012

So you have a Harry Potter book and you think it might be valuable? But how can you tell if it is worth anything?

Back in 1997, no-one had heard of JK Rowling. Bloomsbury took a huge gamble and published a children's book about magic that no-one else wanted - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

They only published 500 first editions. Three hundred of those disappeared into the British library system. The other 200 were used to spread the word about the Boy Wizard. Those first editions have become the Holy Grail of rare Harry Potter books -- AbeBooks sold one for $36,000 in 2005 -- and they are very scarce.

A journalist on London's Daily Telegraph newspaper interviewed Rowling just after the book was published and then threw away his first edition thinking it was just another kids' book.

Those Philosopher's Stone first editions are hardcovers

The copyright page has a number line that reads 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1..... and it credits Joanne Rowling -- not J.K. Rowling.

True first editions of the first four Potter books have regularly sold for four figure prices tags on AbeBooks but this market has tailed off. First editions of the final three Potter books are not worth anything as millions were printed.

AbeBooks has sold 700 of Rowling's books for $200 or more, so what else can make one of her books valuable?

Well -- has JK signed it? In the early days before she became a megastar, she signed lots of books but that changed as she became more successful. During the Harry Potter glory years of 2003 to 2007, a book signed by Rowling could sell for several thousand dollars. A deluxe set of the first six novels signed by the author sold for $16,000 in 2006 on AbeBooks, but again prices for signed Harry Potters are falling.
Since the publication of the Deathly Hallows, any book signed by Rowling at one of her special signings included a holographic sticker to authenticate the signature.

If a Harry Potter book was signed by the illustrator then it also has some value, but the artist's signature does not compare to Rowling's.

There are many Harry Potter books that were printed with upside-down covers and they are mere curiosities. There is also no real market for books signed by members of the movie cast.

See collectible Harry Potter books on AbeBooks: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Searc...


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