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First Edition of Rare J.K. Rowling Book to be Auctioned by Bonhams

Bonhams is preparing to sell a rare copy of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. (The title was changed to Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone for the first American edition.)  A true first edition of the first book in the Harry Potter series, complete with dust jacket and publisher’s error reading “1 wand” on page 53, is set to sell at Bonhams’ London gallery on November 9, 2016.  While bidding will begin at ₤20,000 ($26,268), it is widely believed the realized price will surpass that amount. 

First editions of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone published in the UK can sell for thousands of dollars.  The difference between a low priced reading copy and a true collector’s edition can be found in the book’s points of issue.

Points of issue or simply “points” are those publishing details that make a book collectible.  Points are different for each publication and can differ from issue to issue.  That’s why a true first edition refers to more than the copyright date.  To be a true first edition, the book must be the first issue of the first edition.  If you think you own a rare copy of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, you’ll want to check out this points list issued by London book dealer Peter Harrington that was recently published in the online edition of the Irish Independent:

·       Check Chapter 5, page 53.  Famously listed is the publisher’s error “1 wand” at both the top and bottom of Harry Potter’s school supplies shopping list.  Just 500 hardback editions were issued with this error initially, and 300 want to libraries.  The publisher’s error is also known to have appeared in later editions Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone according to Harrington.

·       Rather than J.K. Rowling, the author is credited as “Joanne Rowling”.

·       The publisher must be listed as Bloomsbury at the bottom of the title page.

·       The book must also indicate the volume was printed in 1997 and in the UK.

·       The print line on the copyright page must read as follows: “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1”.

Naturally, your first edition should also have its original dust jacket.  Rare and collectible books without their dust jackets can suffer a significant loss of value.  To be desirable, your book must also be free of damage, soiling and losses.

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