Look inside the upper inside cover of books one through four, if you see a printed sale price, then you probably have a valuable collector’s item.
Why? Because the first printing of the first edition is desired by collectors and all were printed with a sale price. The popularity of Harry Potter has made the first four books exceptional collector’s items. Even if you detest him, you can’t shake a wand at books that sell for hundreds to ten thousand dollars. The later books in the Harry Potter series fail to bring demand from collectors due to the fact that they were mass printed and everyone bought them during that first run.
Far fewer people have those early copies of the books where the “book year” was not printed on the spine. This applies to the first two books in the series.
As Abebooks.com explains about Harry Potter: A Sorceror’s Stone,
“Hardcover first edition first printings of this 1997 book have become the ‘Holy Grail’ for Potter collectors. If you find one in the attic, then you’ve hit the jackpot.
Only 500 were published and 300 went to libraries.”
But don’t reject a copy of The Sorcerer’s Stone if it is not one of those first 200 UK editions, because even later printings of the first American Edition will bring in more than grinning picture of Ben Franklin. First Editions will say “First Edition.”
You can determine their potential value by looking at the inside cover and reading the number line: 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 8 9/9 0/0 01 02. If the book has all the numbers 1 through 10 as the first ten in this sequence, than it is the first edition. As this book was printed in 1998, the same holds true for the second set of numbers that indicate the year, they must range all the way from 8 (1998) and higher. This same method can tell you whether the other Harry Potter books may be of interest to collectors. Other indicators include on the first book, a diamond patterned hardcover.
The third book contained a misprint run where J.K. Rowling’s name read Joanne Rowling. Mistakes such as that and a block of misaligned text on page seven make them rare. In the world of book collecting, rare means valuable.
After book four, J.K. Didn’t frequent the book signing tours as she had while promoting the earlier ones. Signed books are less common in those later books.
If you ever have the opportunity to purchase one of these most sought after rare books, tell me about it? I have this fantasy, we all do, right? That someday, in some yard sale, somewhere, I will find one of these books, and take it home and place it in a glass case. In fact, I mean to photograph myself at the yard sale where I find it, take that picture home and frame it, because while the book has become a piece of history, finding one is now, too.
By the way, I operate a small book museum (on the book shelf in my living room) and if you have one of these books and want to donate them to my museum, I will accept…