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Bargain Bucket Discovery: Rare Harry Potter 1st Edition To Fetch $75,764 At Auction

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The hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. SWNS.

A rare Harry Potter first edition discovered in a bargain bucket 26 years ago is set to fetch $75,764 at auction.

The hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is from the first print run in 1997 which cost $12.

A mom on a caravan holiday spotted it in a bargain bucket in a book shop in the Scottish highlands in the late 1990s.

Because it had no jacket, the buyer got a couple of pounds knocked off the price before she gave it to her children to read.

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The dog-eared book was taken back to the woman’s home and left in a cupboard under the stairs for years before it was found and valued.

This hardback first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. SWNS.

It turned out to be one of the first copies published and was one of only 200 distributed to book shops from the first print run.

It is expected to sell for between £40,000-£60,000 but could fetch far more when it goes under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on December 11.

The seller, a 58-year-old Scottish woman, said she bought the book after reading one of the first ever interviews with J K Rowling in The Scotsman newspaper in the late 1990s.

“I bought the Harry Potter book before anyone really knew much about it, or the author,” said the retired third sector manager.

“I found it during a family caravan trip touring round the highlands of Scotland.

“I was delighted to discover a bookshop café on an isolated peninsula after driving miles on a single-track road in the north-west of Scotland.

“I recognized the distinctive book cover straight away. The book seller had placed it in a wicker ‘bargain bucket’ basket on the floor.

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“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.”

The first print run of the famous book featured only 500 hardback copies and are considered the rarest and most prized Potter books.

The seller, who lives just north of Edinburgh where J K Rowling wrote the first Potter book, added: “My children read something online years back about how to identify first editions and told me they thought we had one of them.

“But I said the edition was worthless due to it having no dust jacket.

“Some time later I learned the book was never released with a dust jacket.

“At that point, we stored the book away. It lived like the young Harry Potter did, in the cupboard under the stairs.

“I forgot about it for a long time but then read about the rarity of first editions.”

She took the book to be valued and was stunned to discover it was worth tens of thousands of pounds.

“These first issues are getting harder and harder to find,” said book expert Jim Spencer, of Hansons Auctioneers.

“This must be one of the few remaining copies that’s been in private hands since it was purchased in 1997.

“It’s a genuine, honest copy – and a fantastically well-preserved example.

“This hasn’t been paraded around salerooms or rare book fairs or been restored. It’s fresh to market and it deserves to go full steam like the Hogwart’s Express.

“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.

This hardback first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. .SWNS.

“Even more astonishingly, this one ended up on a remote Scottish peninsula, and it was all down to an article in The Scotsman – and perhaps a dusting of magic – that encouraged the inquisitive and very lucky buyer to pluck it from the bargain bin.

“Most examples are quite badly worn, especially ex-library copies.

“They’ve often been shared among friends and carried around in school rucksacks, which in some ways is lovely, capturing the buzz of Harry Potter when it first gained popularity.

“However, more traditional collectors are incredibly fussy about condition, and this could hardly be better.

“This will be an incredibly exciting offering at auction, especially if someone with deep pockets wants to buy it as the ultimate Christmas present.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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