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POTTER GOLD! Hogwarts first edition sells for PS50,000 in auction bidding war.

Byline: JACK EVANS News Reporter

ARARE Harry Potter first edition kept in pristine condition in a codelocked briefcase for decades has fetched a magical PS50,000 at auction.

The hardback book is one of just 500 original copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, published in 1997 when JK Rowling was unknown.

Its careful owners had kept the book stored in a briefcase at their home, which they locked with a code, to preserve the treasured family heirloom. Book experts say the novel was in the best condition they have ever seen and estimated it could fetch PS25,000 to PS30,000 when it went under the hammer.

But it smashed its auction estimate when it was bought by a private UK buyer for a price of PS57,040 following a bidding war on Thursday.

Hansons Auctioneers said four phone bidders battled with internet buyers to own the sought-after book at Bishton Hall, Staffordshire.

Jim Spencer, books expert at Hansons, says: "I'm absolutely thrilled the book did so well - it deserved to.

"I couldn't believe the condition of it. It was almost like the day it was made. I can't imagine a better copy can be found.

"A 1997 first edition hardback of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the holy grail for collectors because so few were printed.

"The owners took such great care of their precious cargo they brought it to me in a briefcase, which they unlocked with a secret code.

"It felt like we were dealing in smuggled diamonds."

The seller, who wished to remain anonymous, a retired civil servant from Lancashire, says: "It goes without saying that we're absolutely delighted with the price achieved.

"The book was given to us as a gift by an aunt when our children were small. She bought it at an independent book shop when it was first published.

"The plan was to keep it as a family heirloom.

"My wife put it in a briefcase to stop the pages turning yellow."

The book was part of an auction involving 12 Harry Potter first editions discovered following the sale of another Philosopher's Stone original for PS28,500 in July.

"That book was bought for PS1 at a table top sale and it sparked Potter mania," says Jim. "I started receiving 50 emails a day from people who thought they might own a first edition.

"Out of thousands of contacts, 12 first editions emerged, including the star find."

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, says: "It was a phenomenal Harry Potter result, all down to the hard work of our very own books wizard, Jim Spencer."

CAPTION(S):

| Books expert Jim Spencer with the first editions, including the prize lot, right

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Author:JACK EVANS News Reporter
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 13, 2019
Words:451
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