Harry Potter hidden treasure for Derbyshire family

Are you sitting on hidden treasure? As reported in the Daily Mirror, a family in Derbyshire received a pleasant surprise when they realised the true worth of a book their mother left them.

The family, who wanted to keep their identity anonymous, inherited books from their mother who died in 2004. The woman had always been an avid reader and passed that passion onto her four daughters.

Included in the collection of books was a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone the woman bought at a local fete for £1. When the woman’s husband found out about what first edition Harry Potter books were fetching at auction, he alerted his daughters to the treasure they might own.

Emphasis on taking care of books

The number on the copyright page needed to read 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, as the one they owned did. In addition, the mother had always emphasised that her daughters look after books properly, so despite all four of them reading it, the book is in good condition.

A local firm of auctioneers confirmed it was first edition, and the book is expected to raise between £20,000 to £30,000 at auction.

But what are first editions and what makes them so valuable? In general, a first edition is valuable because it represents only a portion of the total number of copies a popular book will sell. Collectors, rather than publishers, are more likely to be able to identify first editions.

Copyright page info

The first place they look is the copyright page. Publishers will often use one of a few methods for showing where that copy falls in that book’s printing history. A line might show the printing and sometimes the year of publication. Most times, the first number on that number line shows what printing that copy was a part of. With each subsequent printing, the publisher removes a number from the line of numbers.

Determining a ballpark current value of an old book you might own can be done with a little research online.

Check the copyright date, printing history (i.e. the edition/printing), the publisher and any details. Booksellers use condition grading terms for books, so it’s useful to know into which category your book falls.

AbeBooks is one good place to look to check. First editions of popular classics that are in very good condition tend to be the most valuable. If the author has signed the book, that can also add value.

In addition, Finders Probate Property Sales and Services offers an easy way to check for valuables, such as rare books, in any house you have inherited. As well as ranging for the house to be cleared up and prepared for a fast sale, we can also carry out an inventory of everything in there and advise on any treasure that may be hidden within.

This article was submitted to be published by Finders International as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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