Harry Potter first edition sells for thousands after avoiding car boot sale

A first edition of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone has made £50,000 at auction after almost being sold in a car boot sale for 50p.
Hansons’ books expert Jim Spencer with the first edition. The Rumsey family, from Preston, found a long lost first edition of a Harry Potter book and were going to send it to a car boot sale before they realised it could be valuable. The first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is set to be auctioned in December 2020 and could fetch £50,000. Picture courtesy Mark Laban/Hansons AuctioneersHansons’ books expert Jim Spencer with the first edition. The Rumsey family, from Preston, found a long lost first edition of a Harry Potter book and were going to send it to a car boot sale before they realised it could be valuable. The first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is set to be auctioned in December 2020 and could fetch £50,000. Picture courtesy Mark Laban/Hansons Auctioneers
Hansons’ books expert Jim Spencer with the first edition. The Rumsey family, from Preston, found a long lost first edition of a Harry Potter book and were going to send it to a car boot sale before they realised it could be valuable. The first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is set to be auctioned in December 2020 and could fetch £50,000. Picture courtesy Mark Laban/Hansons Auctioneers

The rarity was among 500 hardback copies published by Bloomsbury in 1997, before JK Rowling’s tale of magic and wizardry found international success.

Charlotte Rumsey, 28, from Preston, found the book in a box of unwanted things her mother was intending to sell at a car boot sale earlier this year.

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However, after watching Antiques Roadshow, and seeing a similar first edition valued at £13,000, she asked her mother Karen, from Blackpool, to check the copy’s worth with Hansons Auctioneers.

Its experts estimated the book could sell for as much as £50,000.

Upon discovery its potential sale price, Charlotte told the auction house: “Things like this don’t happen to normal families like us. Our friends are delighted for us.”

She added: “We still couldn’t believe it so we contacted Hansons. Their expert Jim Spencer confirmed it was a genuine first edition. We’re so excited.

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“Mum moved to Blackpool in 2003 and can’t believe she has had such a valuable book sitting on her bookshelf all that time.”

Of the original run of 500 copies, 300 were gifted directly to schools and libraries, while this copy is among the 200 sold in shops.

Hansons Auctioneers’ sale in Staffordshire on Friday also saw another first edition of The Philosopher’s Stone sell for £68,000.

The auction house has uncovered a number of Harry Potter first editions in recent years, last selling one in October this year.

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Posted to their books expert Jim Spencer in a tea towel from Luxembourg, the item realised a hammer price of £60,000.

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