Here's how to tell if your 'Harry Potter' book is worth $90,000

Here's how to tell if your 'Harry Potter' book is worth $90,000

Harry Potter has made us all rich in more ways than one. Rich in fictional magical knowledge, rich in conversation topics with strangers at otherwise awkward house parties, and let's be honest: rich in overall joy.

However, is it time for the boy wizard to make our bank accounts rocket overnight?

It certainly could be the case, given that a rare copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone recently sold at auction for almost £70,000 ($91,000).

 British author J.K. Rowling presents her novel 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.' Credit: Getty

The unique copy is one of only 500 first-editions and was estimated to hit between £40,000 ($52,000) and £60,000 ($78,000), but instead sold for exactly £68,800 ($90,118.37) at Bonhams Auction House in Knightsbridge, London.

It's not the first time a Harry Potter book has reached jaw-dropping prices. In 2017, a similar first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold at auction in Texas, United States, for $81,250 (£60,186), setting a new world record for an unsigned work of fiction.

The book, the first in the seven-part series, was kept in pristine condition by a private UK collector and sold by rare book specialists Heritage Auctions.

Harry Potter scene Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

"We have sold great Harry Potter titles - not to mention chairs - in the past, but we never really paid attention to such a thing as a world record," Heritage Auctions Rare Books Director James Gannon said, The Scotsman reported. "This recent copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone surpassed the earlier record of approximately $60,000 by more than 30 per cent. It very well may be the highest price obtained at auction for any unsigned work of literature published in the past 50 years."

He added: "The book was an exceptionally nice copy. It had really been taken care of. It was bought in the UK 18 years ago and had been with one collector since. Only 500 or so copies of the first book were printed and of those, 300 are believed to have gone into lending libraries.

"Usually an exhibited book is less collectable, so there were far fewer of those available to stay in pristine condition. There is a huge group of people searching for one for their collection and it is really a phenomenon rather just a book. It has all the weight of J.K. Rowling's celebrity behind it."

Harry Potter poster Credit: Warner Bros

So, the question is: how do you know if your Harry Potter copy is worth this kind of money?

To check whether you have a first edition copy, you need to check out the specific criteria listed below:

  • The publisher must be Bloomsbury.
  • The latest date on the copyright page must be 1997.
  • The print line on the page must read: '10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1'.
  • Check page 53: the phrase "1 wand" is listed twice on a list of required school supplies the 11-year-old must take with him to Hogwarts. This mistake was corrected in later print runs.

So, are you sitting on a rare copy that could top up your bank account by tens of thousands? The only way to know is to run and check now!