How Much is That Harry Potter in the Window? (pt. 1)


It’s been 5 years since I wrote What’s Your Harry Potter Worth, and it’s still the #1 post garnering comments and questions, so I thought I would do a few follow up posts to address some of the questions I’ve been getting.

First, let me reiterate, that I, myself, am not a book appraiser. I cannot actually tell you how much your copies are worth, but I can give you a few key clues as to whether or not the book you have on your shelf (or the one you found at the thrift store) has any value.

First and foremost, the book HAS to be in pristine condition. No bumps, folds, marks, tears, smudges, or pages falling out. It cannot have mold, mildew, or any foul smelling odors. If you see a copy like this at the thrift store or used bookstore — KEEP WALKING.  Just pass that sucker right up. (The ONLY way a book like that will have any value is if it’s signed by J.K. Rowling &/or Mary GrandPré. In which case, buy it and take it immediately to a professional bookbinder and PAY whatever they ask to have it restored.)

As most know, the Harry Potter series was first published in the U.K. but the popularity quickly spread. The first three books in the series were published first in the U.K., with other markets lagging up to a year behind. By the fourth book, however, the books were being simultaneously published in the U.K. and elsewhere.

U.K. editions will prove to be more valuable (especially where the first 3 books are concerned) because they are the true firsts. This is also the country of origin, so value is placed on that as well.

Also of note, in the UK, publisher Bloomsbury printed ‘Adult’ issues of the Harry Potter books. The only difference between the ‘Adult’ and YA copies is the book cover. I’m guessing they did this so adults wouldn’t feel quite so self conscious reading a children’s book in public.

UK (YA) Edition:


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 
Published: 29 June, 1997
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, UK
Orig. price: £10.99 (hardcover) £4.99 (softcover)
# of pages: 223
Size: 8vo – over 7¾” – 9¾” tall
First print run: 500 hardcovers (300 of which were sent out to libraries, which makes owning a pristine copy — with no library markings — all the more valuable.) Several thousand softcovers were published at the same time, according to the publisher, and 150 proof copies (softcover) were printed.

Values:
Unsigned: up to $9,700 (softcover), up to $45,000 (hardcover)
Unsigned: $2,600 (third printing with first issued dust jacket)
Signed: up to $55,000 (hardcover) and $11,000+ (softcover)

Attributes of the first print run (for both hardcover and softcover) include: 

  • The crediting of “Joanne Rowling” on the title page (rather than J.K. Rowling)
  • The publisher listed at the bottom of the title page is Bloomsbury
  • The print line on the copyright page features the full number line from 10 to 1, as in: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 
  • The cover illustration copyright is printed as Thomas Taylor1997 with no space between Taylor and 1997
  • Page 53 shows Harry’s school supply list, on which “1 wand” appears both at the top and bottom of the list 
  • No dust jacket was issued. (The dust jacket did not appear until the third printing).
  • The cover includes a quote that reads “A terrific read and a stunning first novel” Wendy Cooling
  • On the back cover, the word “Philosopher’s” is misspelled as “Philospher’s”
  • Also on the back cover, the words “Witchcraft and Wizardry” are switched and printed as “Wizardry and Witchcraft”
  • Early editions show an illustration on the back cover of a young wizard smoking a pipe rather than that of the older Dumbleldore.

If you are one of the less than 500 people in the world to have a copy, then kudos!

Unsigned softcover copies in Good to Very Good condition usually have a price tag in the range of $4,500 USD to $9,000 USD. If it’s signed? well, get that puppy appraised and insured!

The softcovers in this particular case are considered less valuable than the hardcovers because there were more printed in the first run, although most paperback books don’t last as long as their hardback counterparts — so, as time goes by, fewer and fewer will have survived. If you come across one, even in Fair to Good condition, the value will probably continue to go up with time.

Unsigned hardback copies range from $45,000 USD and up. You read that right. Because there were only 200 hardback copies not sent to libraries, this is the rarest of finds for Harry Potter book collectors.

Watch for “later printings” or books published in other countries (i.e. Australia or Canada) – these are not part of the 500 first print run. Also watch for descriptions stating that the book is a first/first and then describing the condition of the dust jacket. True first/firsts were not issued with a dj. The dust jacket appeared with the third printing—which because of the novelty, is also highly collectible, although values are a fraction of the first printing.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 
Published: 2 July, 1998
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, UK
Orig. price: £10.99 
# of pages: 251
Size: 8vo – over 7¾” – 9¾” tall
First print run: 10,150

Unsigned: $500 – $2,000
Signed: $3,000 – $7,000

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Year 3)
Published: 8 July, 1999
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, UK
Orig. price: £10.99
# of pages: 317
Size: 8vo – over 7¾” – 9¾” tall
First print run: 10,000 *However only 500 are considered first state.

Unsigned: $1,200 – $2,100 (first state)
Unsigned: $350 – $500 (second state)
Unsigned: $150 – $400 (third state)
Signed: $2,500 – $4,000 + (state not always specified)

Attributes: 

The first state listed the copyright to Joanne Rowling, rather than J.K. Rowling. There is also dropped text in this state, but the copyright alone will indicate it is a first state. The second state corrects the copyright to J.K. Rowling, lists Clays St. Ives as the printer, and has no ads in the rear. The third state does not mention a printer and has ads at the rear of the book. There is a VAST difference in the value between these states. In fine condition, the first state routinely costs over $1,500. The second and third state in similar condition bring $150 to $500.” [Mugglenet]


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Year 4)
Published: 8 July, 2000
**At this point, the books are released simultaneously in the U.K., Australia, Canada, and U.S.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, UK
Orig. price: £16.99 (could not find a source to confirm this price, will update if this is incorrect)
# of pages: 636
Size: 8vo – over 7¾” – 9¾” tall
First print run: 1,000,000

Unsigned: up to $650
Signed: up to $4,000

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Year 5)
Published: 21 June, 2003
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, UK
Orig. price: £16.99
# of pages: 766
Size: 8vo – over 7¾” – 9¾” tall
First print run: over 1,000,000

Unsigned: up to $600
Signed: up to $3,000+

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Year 6)
Published: 16 July, 2005
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, UK
Orig. price: £16.99
# of pages: 607
Size: 8vo – over 7¾” – 9¾” tall
First print run: over 1,000,000

Unsigned: up to $350
Signed: up to $4,000+

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Year 7)
Published: 21 July, 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, UK
Orig. price: £17.99
# of pages: 607
Size: 8vo – over 7¾” – 9¾” tall
First print run: over 1,000,000

Unsigned: up to $200
Signed: up to $5,000+



UK (Adult) Edition:

As stated above, the ‘Adult’ edition is identical to the YA edition, with the exception of the cover design. Values for the ‘Adult’ editions are usually lower than those of the YA edition. (Primarily because people consider the YA editions to be more collectible).

Most people who are collecting the ‘Adult’ edition either find that these books are easier and less expensive to obtain and/or they’re collecting them in addition to the YA books. If you’re interested in their value, head over to Abebooks and check out the prices.


UK Collector’s and Deluxe Editions:

The UK Deluxe Editions are… bound in cloth boards with the cover from the UK book in the center of the front cover. They also feature J.K. Rowling’s signature in gold, gild-edged pages, and a sewn-in silk bookmark. The 1/1 copies of these books are quite rare and are priced from $65 to $1,500. [Mugglenet]

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 
Published: 1997
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, London
Orig. price: not stated
# of pages: 223
Size: 6.25” x 9.5”
First edition thus, first print run: 12,000 

Unsigned: $250 – $750 (dependent upon condition)
Signed: up to $7,000 +

Be careful when purchasing “signed” copies, as there are many copies that were signed not by Rowling, but by the illustrator/artist. I also came across a couple listings stating that their edition was “signed on the front cover” – possibly alluding to Rowling’s signature in gold – which is actually a design element and not considered a “signed” copy.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 
Published: 1998
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, London
Orig. price: not stated
# of pages: 251
Size: 6.25” x 9.5”
First edition thus, first print run: 17,000

Unsigned: $200 – $700
Signed: up to $7,000+ (note: I did find a copy selling for less than $2,000 over on Abebooks, the only issue was a wrinkled page)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Year 3)
Published: 1999
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, London
Orig. price: not stated
# of pages: 317
Size: 6.25” x 9.5”
First edition thus, first print run: 7,000

Unsigned: $1,300 – $1,800
Signed: up to $7,000+

*Once again, Prisoner of Azkaban is the rarest and possibly most sought after in the collection. As such, expect a higher price tag for this title, even outside of the first print run.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Year 4)
Published: 2000
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, London
Orig. price: not stated
# of pages: 636
Size: 6.25” x 9.5”
First edition thus, first print run: 30,000 – 35,000

Unsigned: $150 – $400
Signed: up to $3,700+

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Year 5)
Published: 2003
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, London
Orig. price: not stated
# of pages: 636
Size: 6.25” x 9.5”
First edition thus, first print run: 30,000 – 35,000

Unsigned: $100 – $300
Signed: $1,500 – $4,500

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Year 6)
Published: 2005
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, London
Orig. price: not stated
# of pages: 636
Size: 6.25” x 9.5”
First edition thus, first print run: 30,000 – 35,000

Unsigned: $70 – $300
Signed: up to $5,000 +/-

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Year 7)
Published: 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, London
Orig. price: not stated
# of pages: 636
Size: 6.25” x 9.5”
First edition thus, first print run: 30,000 – 35,000

Unsigned: $50 – $100
Signed: up to $5,000 +/-





[updated 7/2016]


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