A pristine copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone—an early print containing unique errors—fetched a British couple a lump sum at auction.

By Zee Krstic
October 11, 2019

Believe it or not, the Harry Potter series wasn't an instant success for author J.K. Rowling. She admits that she struggled to get publishers excited about her idea for a story about the wizarding world back in the '90s. According to the Independent, Rowling's first book deal only guaranteed a first-run printing of 500 copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and 300 of these copies ended up being donated to libraries. However, these special copies—and others made during the first few printings—contained a few spelling errors and some contain one major change from the rest of the series; the author's name was listed as "Joanne Rowling" inside the book's copyright page, making these books worth a pretty penny to Harry Potter fans and bibliophiles alike. 

A couple living in Lancashire, England, just proved how much these first-edition books are worth after selling their copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone at auction for more than $58,000. The book was in pristine condition, making it even more valuable, since the couple had locked this tome and it's sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in a code-locked briefcase for safekeeping, according to this BBC report. At the time, the couple didn't know that the series would turn into one of the world's most popular film franchises; they simply intended on passing the books down to their children and grandchildren as heirlooms. 

Related: This Viking Relic, Once Sold for $10, Just Sold for More Than $900,000 at Auction

But the BBC reports that the couple changed their minds more than 20 years later when they learned that another first edition copy had sold for more than $35,000. Imagine the sellers' surprise when bidders began offering much higher amounts at auction; after taxes and additional legal fees, the new owners of the book will shell out more than $70,000 for the book, according to the BBC.

You may be surprised, however, to learn that this isn't the top price that someone has paid for a Harry Potter novel. Earlier this year, another copy of the first Harry Potter title sold for a whopping $90,000 because the book's title was spelled wrong on the rear cover: "Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone," according to the Los Angeles Times.

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