A rare first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone has sold at auction for an “eye-watering” £55,104.
The book was found in a cupboard under the stairs – like how readers find the novel’s young protagonist.
The seller, a 58-year-old Scottish woman, first bought the book 26 years ago after spotting it in a bargain bucket shop in the Highlands.
The seller bought the book for £10 but managed to get £2 knocked off the price, and has now sold it for more than £50,000.
The forgotten treasure went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on Monday and was sold to a private UK online buyer.
The delighted seller learned about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone after reading one of the first ever interviews with its author, J K Rowling, in The Scotsman newspaper in the late 1990s.
The recently retired third sector manager said: “I bought the Harry Potter book before anyone really knew much about it, or the author.
“I found it during a family caravan trip touring round the highlands of Scotland. I discovered a bookshop café on an isolated peninsula after driving miles on a single-track road in the north-west of Scotland.
“I recognised the distinctive book cover straight away. The book seller had placed it in a wicker ‘bargain bucket’ basket on the floor. Because it had no dust jacket, I got a couple of pounds knocked off the price.
“Our two children enjoyed the wizard tale as a bedtime story all through that holiday in 1997.”
Jim, a world-renowned expert on Potter finds, called the discovery “astonishing”.
“These first issues are getting harder and harder to find. This must be one of the few remaining copies that’s been in private hands since it was purchased in 1997.
“It’s astonishing it ended up on a remote Scottish peninsula, and it was all down to an article in The Scotsman – and perhaps a dusting of magic – that encouraged the inquisitive and very lucky buyer to pluck it from the bargain bin,” he added.
This is the 19th hardback Philosopher’s Stone first edition out of the original 500 discovered by Mr Spencer.
They have sold at auction for between £17,500 and £69,000, plus buyer’s premium, dependent on condition.
He has also uncovered numerous paperback first issues which have achieved as much as £8,500.
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