Some 500 million of her books have been sold in 80 languages but what has become of the first books published when she was a struggling single mum?
How much is a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone worth and what's the most valuable JK Rowling book?
A rare first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has sold for a world record price of £127,000 at Christies in New York – 11,555 times its original £10.99 price.
It was originally expected to fetch between about £35,000 and £51,000 but it smashed the previous record for a Harry Potter first edition, which was £60,186 paid at an auction in Dallas in 2017.
The book is signed by the author and comes with the characteristic word “wand” mistake on page 53.
“While the story of the boy wizard Harry Potter would go on to take the world by storm, Rowling was totally unknown upon its first publication,” say Christies.
“Only 500 copies were printed of the initial run, 300 of which went to libraries.
“This first edition was not issued with a dust jacket – the present copy is protected by a jacket reproducing the pictorial boards and signed by the artist.
“This copy is also signed by Rowling on the half-title, with a ticket laid in from the signing event at Harrods.”
How can you tell if your Harry Potter book is a first edition?
As JK Rowling’s popularity has rocketed, so has the value of the first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
In 2009, a signed first-edition copy of the same book was sold by Heritage Auctions for £15,000 but that has jumped up eight fold in the past decade and it is by far the most valuable in the series.
If you think you might have one, then first look to see if Bloomsbury is listed as the publisher on the title page at the bottom.
The latest date listed in the copyright information must by 1997.
The print line on the copyright page must read “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1”.
There is a mistake on page 53 where “1 wand” appears twice in the list of school supplies Harry receives from Hogwarts, which was corrected in later print runs.
For the other titles in the Harry Potter series, it is only the first hardback editions with the dust jacket that have any collectable value.
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