News | December 14, 2023

£10 Bargain Bucket Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Sells for £55,000


Harry Potter first edition at Hansons

A Harry Potter first edition bought for £10 in 1997 has been sold by Hansons for £55,104 to a private UK online buyer. 

The hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, from the first Potter book print run in 1997, was spotted in a bargain bucket in a shop in the Scottish Highlands 26 years ago. The seller bought it for £10 and even managed to get £2 knocked off the price. She then kept in a cupboard under the stairs for years...

Hansons’ books expert Jim Spencer said: “This was a fantastically well-preserved example, fresh to market. Of the 500 first issue hardbacks printed, 300 went to schools and libraries in order to reach a bigger audience. This is one of the even scarcer 200 that went to bookshops.”

The seller, a 58-year-old Scottish woman, learned about Harry Potter after reading one of the first interviews with author J K Rowling, in The Scotsman newspaper in the late 1990s. "I found it during a family caravan trip touring round the highlands of Scotland. I discovered a bookshop café on an isolated peninsula after driving miles on a single-track road in the north-west of Scotland. I recognised the distinctive book cover straight away. The book seller had placed it in a wicker ‘bargain bucket’ basket on the floor. Because it had no dust jacket, I got a couple of pounds knocked off the price. Our two children enjoyed the wizard tale as a bedtime story all through that holiday in 1997.”

Meanwhile, Nate D. Sanders Auctions is set to auction a first edition, first printing hardback of the same title, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

"The exact number of surviving copies remains uncertain," said a spokesperson for the auction house, "but estimates suggest a significantly lower count than the initial print run. Issued without a dust jacket, a feature introduced in later printings, this copy has undergone professional restoration, a common practice due to its library distribution. The restoration includes a rebacked spine with the original laid down, meticulous board retouching, and the removal of several library stamps and labels. The absence of the front free endpaper is the only notable imperfection."