A rare first edition Harry Potter book has been sold at auction for £60,000 ($77,000), after sitting around on a book shelf for 21 years.
The hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was bought by a doting dad who wanted to help his children learn English through the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
After a couple of decades of it gathering dust, he decided to get it valued and was stunned to discover it was a first edition - of which only 500 were ever printed in 1997.
Deemed a 'holy grail' for collectors, experts believed the novel would fetch between £20,000 and £30,000 ($26,000 to $39,000) when it went under the hammer today (Tuesday 13 October) at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, Derbyshire.
But it ended up being snapped up for double its estimate by a lucky private international buyer, with the hammer price of £60,000 and the total paid, including buyer's premium, a whopping £75,000 ($97,000).
Hansons book expert Jim Spencer said: "I'm absolutely thrilled the book achieved such an outstanding price for our vendor.
"I hoped it would make £50,000 but to see it sail past that to reach £60,000 was astonishing.
"It's the highest price ever paid at Hansons for a hardback first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It's the fourth one I have found in just over a year.
"The first one, a former Staffordshire library book bought for £1, made £28,500. The hammer price has risen with every subsequent sale.
"True first issues are seriously scarce. Only 500 were printed, 300 of which were sent to schools and libraries.
"This is extra rare because it's one of the remaining 200. It's a cliched phrase, but they really are the holy grail for collectors. I'd dreamed of finding one for years."
The seller is a retired British expat who worked in aviation, and purchased the book over 20 years ago to help his kids' English after they moved to Luxembourg.
He said: "I needed English books to read to my three children at bedtime as I was on a mission to teach them my native language from an early age.
"Their mother is Luxembourgish and they were going to state schools here in Luxembourg, so I needed to make a bit of an effort.
"It's just been sitting on a shelf ever since with the rest of the Harry Potter books, with no special care.
"It's actually been read only once with the date recorded in the back of the book. One of the children stuck Harry Potter pictures in the book when the first film came out."
He said he will put the cash towards paying off his daughter's student loan, adding: "I am absolutely delighted with the fantastic sale price achieved.
"The Harry Potter books are truly iconic - in the very top tier of literature for children - and this first edition can only increase in value in the future."Featured Image Credit: SWNS