We found ultra-rare Harry Potter book in charity shop & now it’s worth £4k – check your bookshelves

A MAN who found an ultra-rare first edition Harry Potter book at a charity shop in a “moment of magic” has sold it for £4,000.

The well-read copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was donated in a bag full of books to an Oxfam in Harrogate, North Yorks.

James Smith, 55, found the ultra-rare copy while sorting through a bag of books


James Smith, 55, found the ultra-rare copy while sorting through a bag of booksCredit: BNPS
And his lucky find proved worthwhile as he auctioned it off for a whopping £4,000


And his lucky find proved worthwhile as he auctioned it off for a whopping £4,000Credit: BNPS

But when manager James Smith started sorting through them, he quickly realized the rare first edition copy was inside.

James, 55, noticed the different quote on the black band at the bottom of the front cover.

Most copies of the book declare it as ‘Triple Smarties Gold Award Winner’ but the first edition paperback contained a short review from author Wendy Cooling instead.

Inside, James found the famous novel contained the same “typo”‘ errors that appear in all first edition copies.

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One of the mistakes appears on page 53 in the shopping list for new students at Hogwarts. The requirement of “one wand” is repeated twice.

The word “philosopher’s” was also misspelt on the back cover while the majority of the first editions were printed as hardbacks.

This copy had clearly been very well-read and it is one of the first editions that were given to schools, libraries and Rowling’s friends in 1997.

James has worked at the Oxfam’s book shop for nearly seven years and seen hundreds of Harry Potter books but was stunned to come across the rare copy.

He said: “We get bags and bags of books every day and usually we get a good few Harry Potter books.

“I just thought that something looked a bit different about this one and when I looked closer I realized the black banner at the bottom of the front cover was different.

“I started matching up errors inside with the ones that I could find online and got more excited.

“The happier I got the most the doubt started to creep in and I had to check all the signs again.

“It is easily the best book I have ever found and I’ll be checking all of the Harry Potter books in future.”

James said they had no idea who the person was who donated the bag of books with them.

The book went under the hammer at Tennants Auctioneers of Leyburn, North Yorks.

Auctioneer Jeremy Pattinson said: “It was very lucky to spot one of these paperback first editions among the thousands of books that come into charity shops like that.

“Harry Potter has been a central figure in childhood imagination for the last 25 years, and the excitement of a new Harry Potter book coming out will surely be very fond memories for many.

“First editions like this always attract good levels of interest and this is a great result for the charity.”

Tips for selling at an auction

Consider which auctioneer to use

You should spend time looking at which auctioneer to use. Look at their recently sold auction items and the prices they’ve achieved.

See if there are any items similar to the one you are selling and request a valuation.

Get an auction appraisal

Try and find an expert to get a price quote, if you get a few people to value it make sure one is an auctioneer.

Sellers could potentially achieve a higher price via auction than selling outright by consulting an auction expert.

Maximize your item appeal

Before delivering your items, it’s a good idea to clean them up as best you can to boost their visual appeal.

As hundred of items might be sold at any single auction, it’s vital they look at their very best to help them get noticed and pique interest.

Let them do the work

After registering with an auction house and dropping of your sales, you can relax and let the auctioneers do the work.

You will be able to enjoy the sale instead of scrabbling to secure a buyer.

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