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Frequent Contributor
Daniel_B
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Harry Potter First Editions

I thought it would be helpful to walk everyone through a few examples of first editions that are difficult to identify because they've been issued by many different publishers in many different editions and many more print runs .... Harry Potter -- either the collector's dream (if you're holding a first printing of the first edition of the Philosopher's Stone, which recently sold for many tens of thousands of dollars in the UK) or worst nightmare (if you accidentally bought the large print edition of "Prisoner" without noticing the words "Large Print Edition" on the bottom of the back cover).

(A word on the different books in the series: collectors often notice that certain first editions by blockbuster authors become very valuable in a relatively short period of time (Philosopher's Stone appreciated about 1000x in value in about 10 years). From this fact, they draw the conclusion that first editions of the more recent books will appreciate quickly. The problem is that when the first Potter book was published, Rowling was relatively unknown. When the most recent book was published, she was the best selling author in all of human history. Therefore the first print run of the first book consisted of about 500 copies. 450 of those were probably read by children and scribbled on with crayon. The (US) first printing of the 7th book consists of 12 million copies, and I'm guessing that at least a million of those were scooped up by collectors and never opened. As a result, each book in the series is less valuable than the preceding one and each successive title will appreciate in value more slowly. This is no reason at all not to collect the later titles, but something to bear in mind before planning an early retirement.)

The Potter books are particularly tricky because they were printed in both the UK and US. Collectors generally prefer the UK editions, since Rowling is British and the books were originally published there. But the US first editions of the early books can be quite valuable. In general, the first three titles are the most collectible -- although Rowling became famous almost immediately, she wasn't a record-breaking publishing sensation until around the time that the "Goblet of Fire" came out.

The UK first editions were printed by Bloomsbury. All were originally issued in hardcover with dustjackets EXCEPT the first book, "The Philosopher's Stone" (note that the US title="Sorcerer's Stone). The first printing of the "The Philosopher's Stone" (the one that went for 15,000 pounds recently) was issued in pictoral boards with no jacket, meaning that the image was printed directly on the hard cover of the book. As I mentioned before, the first print run consisted of only 500 copies. The third printing was the first to appear with a jacket. All of the UK firsts can be identified by the "first edition" statement and full number row on the copyright page "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1". There is only one -- The Prisoner of Azkaban -- where the first printing was issued in multiple states, and therefore other points are needed to identify the true first state. The true first lists "Joanne Rowling" on the copyright page, rather than "J.K. Rowling". But it's important with all of these titles to beware of book club and large print editions -- they're often almost identical to the firsts but far less valuable. The large print editions state "Large Print Edition" on a black band on the lower part of the back cover. The UK book club editions are called "The Ted Smart Editions" and sometimes indicate this on the jacket. For some of the titles, the only difference is the appearance of the following statement on the copyright page: "Printed for the Book People".

Does anyone in the group collect the Harry Potter books in any form? I'm guessing that a few of you collect the US firsts ... if you do, maybe we can identify them together. Let me know which title (or titles) you have and whether they indicate that they're first editions on the copyright page, then I'll tell you about the other points that you need to identify them. In general, they're pretty similar to the UK editions -- first edition statement and full number row are enough to guarantee that they're firsts. But there are a few titles in the series with other more complicated points. I'm curious whether anyone in the group has any of them....

Daniel
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Read-n-Rider
Posts: 157
Registered: ‎01-29-2007
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

I'm so excited, Daniel! I have hardcover copies of 2 of the Harry Potter books, and one of them--#5, Order of the Phoenix--says "First American Edition, July 2003" on the copyright page and has the full number line you described. On the other--#6, The Half-Blood Prince, it also indicates first American edition, but the number line only goes down to "2." I'm thinking this means it is the second printing. Right?--Or not?

Anyway, I found your post most informative, and this club has already made me more particular about the books I buy. I'm hoping to someday get around to checking out some of the ones I've had for a long time to see if there are any "treasures" among them!
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

I have First American Edition of both five and six with the full number line, down to 1. But I can't believe they're very valuable, with millions of them printed. But maybe in a hundred years!
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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bibliophilic-mom
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎06-16-2007
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

Wish I still had the first Harry sent by a friend who was living in England at the time. At the time, it hadn't been published here yet and no one knew how to pronounce Hermione's name. During our reading Jo had an interview, I think on NPR, where she set everyone straight on the correct pronunciation.

I do still have the first addition US versions of all the rest, starting with Chamber. It states First American edition June 1999. It's still in pretty good shape with a clean bookcover. Should I stick it on a shelf and buy a paperback for when my younger kids are ready for reading in bed under the covers? I'd hate for it to have an accident if it is valuable.
Inspired Correspondent
Read-n-Rider
Posts: 157
Registered: ‎01-29-2007
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

Bummer on that early U. K. edition of the first Harry Potter book! Like Everyman, I think it will be a long, long time (if ever) before the others, especially the U. S. editions, are very valuable, but, who knows? Hey, maybe you can find some really cheap paperbacks for your kids at garages sales.

Joan
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Daniel_B
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions



Read-n-Rider wrote:
I'm so excited, Daniel! I have hardcover copies of 2 of the Harry Potter books, and one of them--#5, Order of the Phoenix--says "First American Edition, July 2003" on the copyright page and has the full number line you described. On the other--#6, The Half-Blood Prince, it also indicates first American edition, but the number line only goes down to "2." I'm thinking this means it is the second printing. Right?--Or not?




You are absolutely right -- congrats. The early american editions of the books are becoming very valuable, and they're difficult to find ... many avid collectors report seeing later printings on the shelves of stores the first day the books became available. The demand for these books is so enormous that they go through several print runs even before they're released. So good work picking up a first and second printing respectively. Thanks for posting.

Daniel
Frequent Contributor
Daniel_B
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions



bibliophilic-mom wrote:
I do still have the first addition US versions of all the rest, starting with Chamber. It states First American edition June 1999. It's still in pretty good shape with a clean bookcover. Should I stick it on a shelf and buy a paperback for when my younger kids are ready for reading in bed under the covers? I'd hate for it to have an accident if it is valuable.




YES, especially the early ones (i.e. put them on a shelf and buy a cheap paperback for your kids). The Chamber and Prisoner are hard to come by. Do you see number rows on the books? If so, check whether the full number row is present: 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. This indicates a first printing. Thanks for posting.

Daniel
New User
renton07
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎08-14-2007
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

So, I just got my first: first edition, first print (I think?) of the Chamber of Secrets. The exact print line is, "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9/9 0/0 1 2 3 4" I am hoping to buy into the Azkaban first edition next. What should I look for specifically to know that I have the first print?
My other question is...I know with my Basketball card collection it was always better to sell early. In other words...there are a few (not many) cards that will continually gain in value (Most old baseball cards from gum packages) and usually because they are rare. For the most part, however, they are best sold when a player ritires, enters the hall of fame, dies, or when a movie comes out about the person. Could it be possible that now is actually one of the best times to sell you Harry Potter first editions?
Don't get me wrong, I want to own them and collect them, but I am not doing so for a giant payoff...I get the feeling I am paying top dollar right now, and if I wait until after all the movies are out, the books will probably level off in value and maybe even begin to decrease (like all of my basketball cards from the 80's & 90's; the Michael Jordan rookie, for instance is worth $200 less then it did when he reitred the first time.)
Thoughts?
- Chris
Contributor
Frogee
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

I have all 1st Edition, Hard Copy, Bloomsbury, Children's Edition, Harry Potter books.

Some have been signed by JK Rowling.

It's difficult to always know that JKs signature is authentic. Even when a COA is issued. Especially since COAs are easily produced on any computer.

What I'm wondering is this: If any of the signatures prove to be fake, does that make the 1st Edition less valuable, because it's been written on?

What would be an estimated value of all 7, 1st Edition, Bloomsbury Print books be worth?

Thanks for all advice or help you are able to offer.
Only Puddles Not People Should be Shallow
Frequent Contributor
Daniel_B
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions



Frogee wrote:
I have all 1st Edition, Hard Copy, Bloomsbury, Children's Edition, Harry Potter books.

Some have been signed by JK Rowling.

It's difficult to always know that JKs signature is authentic. Even when a COA is issued. Especially since COAs are easily produced on any computer.

What I'm wondering is this: If any of the signatures prove to be fake, does that make the 1st Edition less valuable, because it's been written on?

What would be an estimated value of all 7, 1st Edition, Bloomsbury Print books be worth?

Thanks for all advice or help you are able to offer.




Wow, that's quite a collection. The value of the books really depends on the signatures ... if they're all signed, they're worth about 10x more than they would be unsigned. But even unsigned, the value has to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Remember that first of the first title (Bloomsbury edition) recently sold for $15K. The others aren't worth nearly as much, but they're nothing to sneeze at. And together, they could go for upwards of $30,000. But if they're signed, I can't even speculate.

Your question about fake signatures and how the effect the value of the book is a good one ... fake signatures do reduce the value of books, sometimes significantly. Collectors and dealers generally don't want to touch forgeries, even if they know that they're forgeries. That said, it requires a pretty unique set of circumstances to determine that a signature is forged: you have to either know who it was forged by, or it has to be a terrible replica of the author's hand-writing (so it's obvious that the book is forged). Many books fall into a grey area between obvious forgeries and authentic signatures (this is especially true of books by famous authors like Hemingway, and probably Rowling -- although I haven't heard anything specific): it is strongly suspected that the signatures are fake, but difficult to prove. If more reliable signed copies of the book are hard to come by, these questionable copies will sell at prices well above the value of unsigned copies of the same book, but below the value of an authentic signature. Collectors will frequently take a chance on a signature if they think there is some possibility that it's real (I don't recommend this practice by the way). On the other hand, some signatures are questioned solely on the basis of the fact that there are many known forgeries for the author in question, or because the handwriting is slightly inconsistent -- as handwriting tends to be. I don't put much stock in COAs either. Those who offer them are far from dis-interested, and many COAs themselves have been forged. Your best bet is buying from a reliable and knowledgeable dealer. Good dealers will have seen dozens of signatures from the author in question. They also have no interest in buying fakes. Their business is built on their reputation, and the surest way to ruin a reputation is by selling forged signatures....

Thanks for the question, and hold on to those books.

Daniel
Contributor
Frogee
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

Thanks Daniel for your response, it's appreciated.

The first 3 Harry Potter books are 1st Edition. Unsigned.

Books 4, 5 & 6 are all signed by JK and one is also signed by the book illustrator. BTW they are Deluxe, 1st Editions.

Book 7, is a Deluxe Edition, unsigned. I actually think getting a JK signature on book 7 will be very difficult to get. Unless of course someone happens to be carrying that book at the time they see her wondering around. Unlikely. She only did one reading of that book that I'm aware.

Yes, the books will be kept until I'm totally broke.

Thanks again, Frogee
Only Puddles Not People Should be Shallow
New User
wonder66
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎09-30-2007
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

I have 2 harry potter books that were printed in 1998 and 1999 a year after the first editions they have joanne rowling instead of jk rowling and its printed by bloomsberry. The philosophers stone has a train on the front and is orange and the Chalmber of secrets has a white car driving through the clouds and is blue. I doubt they are worth much but I wanted to check with someone who knows more about this than me.

Many thanks in advance.
New User
wendylou
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-06-2007
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

Hi please can anybody tell me what (if anything) my book is worth? I have a hardback edition of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. It is in excellent unread condition and has the numberline 1098765432 on the copyright page. Copyright page also says Joanne Rowling instead of the usual JK Rowling. It has a picture of the young brown haired wizard on the back instead of the later old white haired wizard. Ted Smart is on the spine of the book.
ISBN - 1856134032
NUMBERLINE: 1098765432
Copyright Joanne Rowling 1997
I'd be really interested to know how much it is worth if anyone can help
New User
cwhite2
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-01-2007
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

I was wondering if you could tell me if my Chamber of Secrets book is valuable. The number on the copyright page is: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 9/9 0/0 1 2 3 4. It says first American edition, June 1999. The problem is, I got this book when I was young and wrote my name on the inside(red page at the front). How would this affect the value of the book...if it is valuable.
New User
LeeA
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-12-2007
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

Hello Daniel,

Thanks for the very useful info. I have an unusual 1st edition and I was wondering if it might have some value.

It is a stated 1st edition of the Sorcerer's Stone ( of course most are ). But, it has a logo on the spine saying Junior Library Guild. It also has a matching picture cover, not the usual black book club type. There is also a Junior library Guild yellow box on the back. There is a blurb from the Guardian as well. On the inside the book appears to be the regular Scholastic edition, but I have never seen one with a complete number line, so I am not exactly sure if it is the same. I really can't tell if it is a BCE of regular edition but with a different cover. There are library markings on the book that have been blacked out, including a few that appear to be dates - there was no pocket ofr a library card. Also the DJ seems to have been laminated and pasted to the inside of the covers so it can't fall off. It also looks like something has been removed from under the laminated - perhaps a library of congress number.

I have never seen a US edition with a picture cover, so I thought I might have something more than the ordinary copy.

Thanks again,
Lee
New User
dreamdans6
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-21-2008
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

Hi Daniel,

Could you help me figure out if the Harry Potter books I have are worth anything right now? Will they be worth anything in the near future?

    I have some US first edition Harry Potter Books. All hardcover and in excellent condition.  All say First American Edition. Half Blood Prince July 2005 with the numbers 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, 05 06 07 08 09 Goblet of Fire, July 2000, same number sequence from 10 down to 1 and then it has 0/0 01 02 03 04, Order of the Phoenix, 03 04 05 06 07 July 2003, Prisoner of Azkaban, October 1999, 10 9 8 7  9/9 0/0 1 2 3 4, and last Hardcover one is Deathly Halloway, but this only says First Edition, July 2007 same number sequence from 10 to 1 with 07 08 09 10 11. Look forward to hearing from you...........dreamdans6


Daniel_B wrote:
I thought it would be helpful to walk everyone through a few examples of first editions that are difficult to identify because they've been issued by many different publishers in many different editions and many more print runs .... Harry Potter -- either the collector's dream (if you're holding a first printing of the first edition of the Philosopher's Stone, which recently sold for many tens of thousands of dollars in the UK) or worst nightmare (if you accidentally bought the large print edition of "Prisoner" without noticing the words "Large Print Edition" on the bottom of the back cover).

(A word on the different books in the series: collectors often notice that certain first editions by blockbuster authors become very valuable in a relatively short period of time (Philosopher's Stone appreciated about 1000x in value in about 10 years). From this fact, they draw the conclusion that first editions of the more recent books will appreciate quickly. The problem is that when the first Potter book was published, Rowling was relatively unknown. When the most recent book was published, she was the best selling author in all of human history. Therefore the first print run of the first book consisted of about 500 copies. 450 of those were probably read by children and scribbled on with crayon. The (US) first printing of the 7th book consists of 12 million copies, and I'm guessing that at least a million of those were scooped up by collectors and never opened. As a result, each book in the series is less valuable than the preceding one and each successive title will appreciate in value more slowly. This is no reason at all not to collect the later titles, but something to bear in mind before planning an early retirement.)

The Potter books are particularly tricky because they were printed in both the UK and US. Collectors generally prefer the UK editions, since Rowling is British and the books were originally published there. But the US first editions of the early books can be quite valuable. In general, the first three titles are the most collectible -- although Rowling became famous almost immediately, she wasn't a record-breaking publishing sensation until around the time that the "Goblet of Fire" came out.

The UK first editions were printed by Bloomsbury. All were originally issued in hardcover with dustjackets EXCEPT the first book, "The Philosopher's Stone" (note that the US title="Sorcerer's Stone). The first printing of the "The Philosopher's Stone" (the one that went for 15,000 pounds recently) was issued in pictoral boards with no jacket, meaning that the image was printed directly on the hard cover of the book. As I mentioned before, the first print run consisted of only 500 copies. The third printing was the first to appear with a jacket. All of the UK firsts can be identified by the "first edition" statement and full number row on the copyright page "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1". There is only one -- The Prisoner of Azkaban -- where the first printing was issued in multiple states, and therefore other points are needed to identify the true first state. The true first lists "Joanne Rowling" on the copyright page, rather than "J.K. Rowling". But it's important with all of these titles to beware of book club and large print editions -- they're often almost identical to the firsts but far less valuable. The large print editions state "Large Print Edition" on a black band on the lower part of the back cover. The UK book club editions are called "The Ted Smart Editions" and sometimes indicate this on the jacket. For some of the titles, the only difference is the appearance of the following statement on the copyright page: "Printed for the Book People".

Does anyone in the group collect the Harry Potter books in any form? I'm guessing that a few of you collect the US firsts ... if you do, maybe we can identify them together. Let me know which title (or titles) you have and whether they indicate that they're first editions on the copyright page, then I'll tell you about the other points that you need to identify them. In general, they're pretty similar to the UK editions -- first edition statement and full number row are enough to guarantee that they're firsts. But there are a few titles in the series with other more complicated points. I'm curious whether anyone in the group has any of them....

Daniel

 

 

New User
krisenwithaK
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎07-27-2009
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

I recently acquired first editions, first prints of both Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire.  Both have the numbers 10-1 and 9/9-4 after. CoS is in excellent condition but has an inscription on the inside cover.  Goblet of Fire on the other hand is in bad condition with a broken binding.  What kind of value would CoS have, even with the inscription?  Does anyone have any ideas?  I also found a copy of Prisoner of Azkaban, but there are no print numbers and no edition numbers.  The hard cover under the dust jacket and the inside cover are also different from all others I have come across. The outside cover is plain black instead of the usual two-tone colors that HP books have.  Also the inside cover is white, not colored.  The paper is a bit thinner than the rest of the books and the text on the outside cover is matte, not metallic.  The dimensions of the book are also smaller than the rest, yet it still has the same number of pages as another copy that I have that is indicated as a second edition.  What is up with this book?  Is it possibly a first edition, or a much later one? 

New User
u4273541
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎09-29-2009
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Re: Harry Potter First Editions

[ Edited ]

Lee,

      Do you still have the Junior Library Guild Book? If so, would you be interested in selling? My email is jdclar3@uky.edu if your interested. Or if anyone else has a JLG Harry Potter they want to sale, just mail me.

 

- Jon

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