Here’s how to tell if your old Harry Potter book is worth over £20,000

3 February 2022, 15:47

Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Could your copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone be worth £20,000? Here's how to tell...

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If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably read all the Harry Potter books at least twice over.

And while your old copies might be gathering dust on the shelf, it turns out they could be worth thousands.

The first of the novel franchise - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - was released all the way back in 1997 and was originally sold for around £4.50 in book shops.

Your Harry Potter book could be worth thousands
Your Harry Potter book could be worth thousands. Picture: Alamy

However, some copies are extremely rare due to a small misprint on page 53 where the word 'wand' is written twice.

If you skip to this part of the book, you’ll see a letter from from Professor McGonagall at Hogwarts that tells students what they need to bring to school.

It reads:

  • 1 wand
  • 1 cauldron (standard size, pewter)
  • 1 set of glass or crystal phials
  • 1 telescope
  • 1 set brass scales
  • 1 wand

At the bottom of the copyright page, there is also a number which reads ‘1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1’, while the author is credited as ‘Joanne Rowling’ instead of JK Rowling.

If your book matches this, then hold on tight because back in 2016, a copy was said to have sold for a whopping £26,000 at Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts Sale in London.

Matthew Haley, Bonhams' Head of Books and Manuscripts said at the time: "As the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has a special place in the affections of the millions of readers across the world and the proof reading error about the wand in the first edition has, of course, become a treasured piece of Harry Potter arcana.

A handful of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone books are worth £20,000
A handful of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone books are worth £20,000. Picture: Alamy

"Like most enduring books aimed at younger readers, the Harry Potter books also have wide appeal to adults and there is a strong market among collectors for first editions."

While the error was corrected in subsequent prints, 500 copies were sold with this mistake and some are still in circulation.

In fact, another first addition book was sold for £60,000 in 2017. Excuse us while we go and check our bookshelf immediately…