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How to find out if you're the owner of a first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - 20 years after its first release

Advice comes from rare bookshop Peter Harrington, which is selling two copies from its store in Chelsea for nearly £5,000

A shop is selling two rare original first edition paperbacks of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for nearly £5,000... and letting fans of the Hogwarts wizard know if they could be unknowing owners of other remarkable copies.

As JK Rowling’s famous creation prepares to celebrate its 20th birthday in June, the books are being sold by rare bookseller Peter Harrington, based in Chelsea .

It is just one of several uncommon and desirable Harry Potter books for sale at its Fulham Road shop.

JK Rowling, seen here signing copies of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

And to mark the landmark anniversary - the boy wizard burst into life with the publication by Bloomsbury of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on June 26 1997 - the shop’s owner Pom Harrington (son of Peter) has released a YouTube video, explaining how you can find out if you’re the owner of a first edition copy.

The books are on the market for £4,950 and £4,250.

First edition hardbacks, which went on sale for £10.99 in 1997, can now fetch north of £50,000.

JK Rowling began writing the book in 1990 and finished the manuscript in 1995.

She submitted it to 12 publishing houses - all of which rejected it before it was accepted and published by Bloomsbury.

One of the rare first edition copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, being sold at a book store in Chelsea(Image: UGC TMS)

The author, who is now listed as one of the richest people in Britain with a net worth of £650 million, was allegedly advised to get a day job as she was unlikely to make any money from the book.

Bloomsbury itself did not think Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone would be a great seller and so only initially printed 500 hardback copies of the book and 5,150 paperbacks, which were all released on the same day.

Also up for sale at the shop are a complete set of Harry Potter novels inscribed by the author to the same recipient, listed for £12,500, and a complete deluxe collector’s first edition set of Harry Potter books, which can be all yours for £18,000.

A vast collection of rare Harry potter books are on sale at the Peter Harrington store in Fulham Road, Chelsea(Image: UGC TMS)

But if you’re looking for something more in your price range, there’s the complete deluxe first edition set of the Harry Potter Collector’s Edition (£2,500), a first edition limited issue Tales of Beedle the Bard (£7,500) and a first deluxe edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, inscribed by the author (£4,500).

Is my Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone valuable?

Peter Harrington explain the book must fulfil the following criteria:

  • The publisher must be listed as Bloomsbury at the bottom of the title page
  • The latest date listed in the copyright information must be 1997
  • The print line on the copyright page must read “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1”, ten down to one, exactly - the lowest figure in the print line indicates the printing. (For instance, if your copy has “20 19 18 17”, it is a seventeenth printing and has no collectable value)
  • On page 53 “1 wand” must appear twice in the list
  • The book must be printed in the UK, not Canada, Australia or anywhere else

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