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Rare Harry Potter book bought for £1 fetches £28,500 at auction

Jim Spencer with the first edition, which sold for £28,500 at auction. Credit: Hansons/PA

A rare Harry Potter book bought for £1 at a table top sale has been auctioned off for £28,500 at Bishton Hall, Staffordshire.

The 1997 first edition of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone was bought on the phone by a private UK collector.

Whether it was serendipity or "pure luck" as described by the auctioneers, the book was listed for auction on the day of JK Rowling’s birthday - incidentally the birthday she gave to her fictional protagonist Harry Potter.

The seller, a 54-year-old office worker who did not want to be named, said: “I can’t believe it. It’s what I’d hoped for but I never really believed my book would make that price.

The first edition was bought for £1 at a table top sale Credit: Hansons/PA

“I knew another Harry Potter first edition had sold for £28,000 but I was panicking as there had been no bids prior to the sale. When I checked to see if it had sold,I was amazed.”

The former Staffordshire Library book was bought by the owner at a table top sale around 20 years ago.

Inside, it still features a “withdrawn from stock” stamp in red ink.

Published by Bloomsbury on June 30 1997, the hard copy is from a print run of just 500.

A first edition Philosopher’s Stone copy can be identified by two errors in the book’s text: the misspelling of ‘philosopher’s’ on the back page and a double mention of “1 wand” on page 53 in an equipment list.

The former Staffordshire Library book has a ‘withdrawn from stock’ stamp. Credit: Hansons/PA

Jim Spencer, head of books and works on paper at Hansons Auctioneers, said three phone bidders had battled it out to buy the rare edition.

Before the £28,500 book was discovered by auctioneers, it was left in a cupboard in the owner’s home.

“When our client bought the book for £1 all those years ago, no-one realised what a huge impact the Harry Potter stories would have globally,” Mr Spencer said.

“The majority of the books in that first print run went to schools and libraries. They are extremely rare.

“This is a landmark in children’s literature, but it appeals to young and old.

“Everybody knows this book. This is the holy grail for so many collectors.”