Two weeks ago, Yahoo had an article on it’s home page about the surprisingly high value of first edition Harry Potter books (both British and American editions). The article gave specific information as to what people should look for on the copyright page to determine if they owned a copy valued in the thousands. I am sure every Potter owner who saw that article salivated at the very thought their copy was worth big bucks. I drooled along with them. (Especially since replacing my iPhone, which was stolen last week, was extremely expensive. A Harry Potter pay-out? Whoo hoo!)
Though I held out little hope I would be lucky enough to own a valuable Harry Potter first edition, I asked my husband to go on a search mission downstairs in our basement. Oddly, it turns out he found two copies of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” I was confused until I remembered that I had loaned out my copy of Book 1 to someone, eventually became convinced I’d never get it back, bought a second Book 1 at a local “Friends of the Library” sale. Right after I bought the second copy, my original was returned to me.
I held both books in my hot little hands, feeling a growing surge of optimism. Why have one lottery ticket when you can have two? My husband, however, remained unimpressed. Unless the copyright page info matched, he reminded me, my obsessive-compulsivene need to own every book in a series could still be pooh-poohed.
For a few minutes it looked like he was right. The first copy we looked at was so way off on the copyright information we laughed. Instead of a first edition, we probably had the nine millionth. Then we tried the “Friends of the Library” book. That one… well… it MATCHED!!!! Yes, matched I tell you! My husband and I stared at each other, and then back at the book. And then back at each other. Speechless.
I then proceeded to go crazy tracking down rare book dealers in my state. Some referred me to different dealers. Others would not bother talking to me at all. But I found one (out-of-state) rare book dealer who was willing to explore the potential value of my book. After we spoke, he asked me to send him all kinds of crazy pictures of the book—the spine, the back cover, the inside and outside jacket flaps, all in addition to the copyright page.
Obviously I complied. I took all those pictures and sent it off to him faster than you can say the name of the bad wizard who shall remain nameless. And the answer was…
I did have a first edition “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Sort of. My version was actually a “book club” copy. Even though the copyright information was exactly the same, the value was off by, basically, everything. Total estimated value of my copy (which is in near perfect condition) maybe as high as $50. Retail. Which means I’d be paid way less than that.
Sigh… This hasn’t been my week. But no matter what this rare book dealer told me, my “Harry Potter” books still have extremely high value—in my heart.
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