Harry Potter fans may want to put in the extra hours and work and build up their bank accounts as an uncorrected proof copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has been uncovered at an Oxfordshire primary school. Hiding in the library’s stacks, the book hadn’t seen the light of day until recently when the school was undergoing some summer cleaning. Deciding to move forward with giving the public a chance to own a piece of literary history, the paperback copy is expected to rake in somewhere around $25,000.
An incredibly rare uncorrected proof copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was found in a British school library, and it’s worth $25,000.
So, how did such an artifact come into the hands of the unassuming school? According to retired St. Kenelm’s School headteacher Bob Alder, the book was bought for just one pound at a warehouse sale in 1997. With the names of Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling nowhere near the popularity and fame they are now, and with a lackluster cover, it’s a shock that the book was even picked up at all. Despite missing the artwork by Thomas Taylor, as soon as you open the book, it becomes apparent that this copy is a piece of history as J.K. Rowling’s name has been incorrectly spelled as “J.A. Rowling” on the inner pages.
The good folks at Hansons Auctioneers picked up the rare copy of the story that would kick off an entire series of novels and film franchises and lead to one of the biggest fandoms among children and young adults. According to Jim Spencer, Head of Books at Hansons Auctioneers, this specific uncorrected proof copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is believed to be one of just 200 copies that were originally pressed by Bloomsbury. In a statement, Spencer says there is no doubt that the book has been in the care of St. Kenelm’s School for all of these years, as the school’s name is stamped on the copy.
Harry Potter is one of the best-selling book series in history, still in print and in-demand to this day.
Spencer goes on to say that the book has its bland cover to thank for its ability to have stayed so well preserved over the last two decades, as many likely passed on the white and yellow designs for a more exciting piece of cover art. He also believes that the school knew what it was doing when they pulled it from the shelves in the early days of the obsession with Harry Potter, as they likely knew it would be a bit of history down the line.
The discovery of the Harry Potter book during the summer dusting was likely joyous, as the title went missing sometime in 2015. Adler says that the staff had “packaged” the novel and placed it “somewhere safe” but it sounds like no one could quite remember where that safe haven was. Without having any eyes on the book’s location, Adler says that he and the rest of the staff became nervous that it had been tossed by someone who didn’t know that the weathered book in front of them was as incredible a find as it was.
According to Jim Spencer, Head of Books at Hansons Auctioneers, this specific uncorrected proof copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is believed to be one of just 200 copies that were originally pressed by Bloomsbury.
Although the last Harry Potter book came out in 2007, with the final film premiering in 2011, the franchise has continued to grow over the last decade. With off-shoots, including the Fantastic Beasts film franchise and a television series on the way, the boy who lived and the wizarding world around him still holds a special place in the hearts of many.