Copy Of Harry Potter Book Found In School Skip Sells For £33,000
The hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was almost gone forever when it was chucked into the trash after a school library clear out ahead of a 2008 Ofsted inspection.
However, an anonymous seller - a 65-year-old grandma - said that she couldn't bear to see them go to waste, but had absolutely no idea how valuable the copies were.
She also bagged a few other Harry Potter books, as well as some paperback editions of JK Rowling's debut novel.
The first editions of the original Harry Potter book usually sell for so much because they've got a whole load of misspellings and typographical errors in them.
So, after a conversation with her grandson, who told her that she might have a fair chunk of cash lying around, she decided to part with the rescued books after 12 years.
She took them off to be valued, and was shocked to discover that she had only one of 500 copies of The Philosopher's Stone ever printed.
Despite being a bit battered and bruised, the 1997 book has now sold for £33,000 to a private collector after going under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers.
On top of that, the paperback editions went for £3,400 and £3,000. She even managed to flog some first editions of The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Chamber of Secrets for £360.
That means that from one skip dive she's made £39,760.
The anonymous seller said: "To say I'm pleased is an understatement. Due to its condition, we thought £20,000 would be a good result.
"We watched the auction and the price just kept going up and up."
Not bad, given that they'd just have ended up on the landfill site, otherwise. Instead, they were saved from that grim fate and taken from the school in Buckinghamshire that she used to work at.
She continued: "I love books and reading and it just seemed awful to throw them away, so I picked up about five Harry Potter books.
"I thought they might be useful for my children or grandchildren in the future. It was better than seeing them go to waste.
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"At the time, I had no idea they were of any value, and neither did the school.
"They'd been well read and the school always ensured its library was pristine for Ofsted inspections. There were lots of other things in the skip, too."
"I think the school originally had 10 Harry Potter hardback first editions. I don't know what happened to the other nine.
"I took the books home and they ended up in the loft. Then about four years ago my son told me he thought the books might be valuable.
"He investigated and a London business offered £4,000 for one of the paperbacks there and then. But they just went back into the loft.
"Last year we were watching a TV interview with Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, about the sale of a Harry Potter first edition which sold for thousands at auction and decided to get in touch."
As for the auctioneers, they said that there was something of an international bidding war taking place between telephone bidder and online speculators trying to get their hands on the books.
Jim Spencer, head of Hansons' Library Auction, said: "I'm delighted for our vendors.
"It was marvellous to see the Harry Potter books do so well and spark such intense bidding.
"I always thought the Philosopher's Stone hardback first edition might surprise us. I put on a humble estimate due to some damage to the binding.
"We had lots of interest, particularly from America, in what was a special Harry Potter-themed Library Auction.
"We sold a multitude of books for several clients, some signed by Rowling.
"Another highlight was a Philosopher's Stone paperback first edition in pristine condition which made £6,500.
"We've had phenomenal success in both finding and selling Harry Potter books in the last 12 months.
"Hardback first editions of Philosopher's Stone are as rare as hens' teeth. They're the holy grail for collectors."
Of the initial 500 hardback editions that were printed in 1997, 300 were sent to schools and libraries, and some ended up in the bookshops.
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Featured Image Credit: SWNS