Thursday, July 15, 2010

What's Your Harry Potter Worth?



The Collectible Harry Potter

Over 300 million copies of the Harry Potter series have been sold world wide. Each new book, when it was released, toppled sales records on the first day of sales (the later books selling 5-9 million copies in one day). And now, some of J.K. Rowling's signed first editions are being listed for $4k and $5k on Abe Books. What about those unsigned books, you may ask? Those are listing anywhere from $100-$1,000.

It's certainly enough to make you wonder how much that HP on the shelf is worth. But how do you know if it's a valuable one?

The Online Guide for Rare Book Collectors tells us that the early U.K. editions are the most valuable, since they were published first. BUT if you are lucky enough to own even a paperback first edition of The Sorcerer's Stone, you could be pleasantly surprised (they've been known to list for up to $70, in fine condition* - not bad for a paperback). So, how do you know if it's a first edition?



The easiest way is to open it up to the copyright page and see if it states "First Edition." If you have a hard cover copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone that was published in the U.S., it should state, at the very bottom of the page, "First American Edition October 1998." If so, you may (underscore 'may') have a valuable book on your hands. But Wait...


Check the Print Run

Unfortunately, it's not enough for this particular book to state "First American Edition" because many of the later printings AND book club editions make that same statement.

Just above that 'First American Edition' statement it should say "Printed in the U.S.A. 23" (For the hard cover). This let's us know in what region the book was printed. Later printings will have a different number (because they were printed in a different region).

Above that, there is a number line. These numbers indicate the print run. If you see a full number line (1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2    8 9/9 0/0 01 02) - that means it's a first print/first edition. If, say, it looks like this: 5 7 9 10 8 6 4    8 9/9 0/0 01 02, then you (like me) have a fourth print/first edition, because the numbers 1, 2, and 3 are missing from the number line. It's that number "1" you're looking for (not "01"). 

The numbers "8 9/9 0/0 01 02" indicate the year the book was published. Look for the lowest "year" in this string of numbers, in this case the "8" followed by "9/9" indicates 1998. (9/9 = 1999, 0/0 = 2000, 01 = 2001, etc.)

This can also be tricky because, again, the Book Club Edition (BCE) may also show the full number line. BUT there are other ways to tell if it's a more valuable First Edition or a less valuable BCE.

Check the Original Price

Even if you don't have a first print, you may still have a valuable book. Open the front cover of your book and check the price listed in the upper right corner of the front dust jacket flap.

If there is no price listed, then you have a Book Club Edition

If the price listed is $17.95, you have a later printing. 

If the price listed is $19.95, then you have a MUCH Later printing that, unless it's signed is probably not worth much.

If, however, the price listed is $16.95, then you have an earlier print run whose value may be higher. Even the later print runs of this first edition can garner prices in the $100 range. The price changed to $17.95 somewhere between the 21st and 24th print runs. If it's $17.95, it still could be a good book to keep in the collection (with a value potentially hovering around $100, although I've seen some book sellers trying to sell it for over $500 - passing it off as THE first American edition. Don't be fooled). keep reading...

The Spine

The U.S. first edition had several different dust jacket designs, the spines and back covers of which differ slightly:

  1. The first design lists "J.K. Rowling" as the author, printed at the head (top) of the spine. No Year is listed.
  2. The second design remains the same on the spine (but the back of the dust jacket changes - see below)
  3. The third design lists the author as "Rowling" (dropping the J.K.), and still does not display the "Year 1" badge.
  4. The fourth, fifth, and all subsequent designs lists the author as "Rowling" under which it states "Year 1" on the spine - this indicates either a later print run or a Book Club Edition (with the price of $17.95). *although it should be noted that some BCEs may not include "Year 1" on the spine, in these cases, you'll need to examine the book boards (see below).


The Back Cover

Dust jacket design changes weren't limited to the spine:
  1. The first design: On the back cover, the isbn box is white with the numbers "51695" above the small barcode, AND the back cover has a quote from The Guardian (not Publishers Weekly)
  2. The second dust jacket design has a Publishers Weekly quote on the back. All else is the same.
  3. The back cover of the third dust jacket design doesn't change. (Just the spine)
  4. The fourth jacket design shows the price jump ($17.95) somewhere between the 12th and 21st printings; the isbn box is white with the numbers "51795" above the small barcode.
  5. The fifth design has a red isbn box on the back cover instead of white - this happened sometime around the 26th printing. The price is still listed as $17.95.
If there is no small barcode or the small barcode does not have numbers (51695, 51795, 51995) above it, then it is a Book Club Edition.

Check Under the Cover: The Book Boards
Also of importance is the book board underneath that dust jacket. It should be a purple, diamond-stamped board and a red cloth spine with gold stamped letters (EXCEPT for the 6th printing, which is just a plain purple board, no diamond stamp).

Later bindings of the book will have black diamond stamped boards with a purple cloth spine (these can still garner a 3-digit price, but closer to the $100 level).

Even later editions will have a plain red board with black cloth or a plain black board with red cloth (or may just be plain red or black with no change in the spine color). 

Both LATER printings and Book Club Editions will feature plain boards (no diamond stamp). These later printings are worth very little. However, some people will (either knowingly or unknowingly) try to sell these later printings as the more valuable First Editions. Unless they're signed by the author or illustrator, they're really not worth the high price tag.

Also check the spine. Information on the spine should appear in gold lettering. The lettering should be crisp and clear (no flaking). Information on the spine of the book should match that on the spine of the dust jacket. (If no year is present on the dust jacket, neither should the book spine have a year displayed.)

*The Condition
Absolutely none of this matters if your book is not in Fine to Near Fine condition

Most books out there are in the poor to fair condition (in nicer terms this means the book was well read). 

Book collectors are looking for books in like new condition - perhaps read once, with nice crisp clean pages, and a tight, square binding. If the book leans when standing, or if it's floppy, loose or scuffed up, the value will take a nose dive. 

Similarly the value drops, if there are any marks (owner's names), name plates, underlining, etc. on the pages. Even odors can diminish the value (musty, mildewy, smokey).

And then there's price clipping... the age-old habit of clipping off the corner of the dust jacket in which the price can be found. Price-clipped dust jackets lower the value of the book, not just because the jacket has been defaced, but because it makes it harder to confirm the edition and printing of the book. 

For more information, see The Harry Potter Collecting Guide at Abe Books, or the Harry Potter page at First Edition Points.

As with all markets, there is a collector for every type of book. But even if you don't have a copy that the market sees as valuable - you still have a piece of literary history and a great book that jump started a whole new generation of readers.


[updated 9/9/13]

87 comments:

  1. Really interesting! Made me check out my bookshelf. Looks like I have a "First American Edition, October 1998," but above that is "Printed in the U.S.A. 37" instead of "23", purple diamond board with red binding, red isbn box, $17.95, you get the picture. My number line is 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 9/9 0/0 01 02, so I'm guessing 24th printing/1st edition? Oh, and my parents wrote "Merry Christmas 1999" on the inside cover. Of course. :) At any rate, fun! :) Thanks for the neat post.

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  2. Hi Nicole,

    I know! Figuring out the edition/value of a Harry Potter book is like figuring out a good mystery. very fun.

    From what I can tell the number in "U.S.A. 37" designates a location where the book was printed. So your copy was printed at a different location than that of the first batch. And you are correct, it looks like you have a 24th printing. As for the the note your parents wrote in the book - usually collectors aren't overly concerned with inscriptions when they're on the inside cover (or even first end sheet page - that colorful page before you get to the title page, et al.)

    Personally, I love finding books with inscriptions - it adds to the story/history of the book as an object. neat stuff!

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  3. Mine says

    30 29 28 27 26 25 9/9 0/0 01 02
    Printed in the U.S.A. 37
    First American edition, October 1998

    My dust jacket fits the description of the 5th jacket design. It has Year 1, Rowling, Publisher's Weekly, $17.95, and a red ISBN box.

    My cover is purple with the diamond pattern with red cloth binding and gold lettering.

    Can you tell me what edition and printing I have?

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  4. Based on what you wrote, it looks like you have the 25th printing of the first edition, printed in 1999. The lowest number in the string "30 29 28 27 26 25" indicates the print run. The lowest number in the string "9/9 0/0 01 02" indicates the year in which it was printed. In this case 9/9 = 1999.

    Somewhere around the 21st printing the price got bumped from $16.95 to $17.95. So you have what some consider to be a later printing of the first edition. Current prices on these vary and really depend on the condition of the book. Recently, I've seen a 30th printing list for $40 and a 21st printing list for $70.

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  5. This video wont help on pricing but it may help some on identifying the first edition or reading the line in harry potter books, it shows the chamber of secrets retail 1st and book club 1st
    http://youtu.be/E2uULlKfovg

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  6. I have a first edition copy of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" - but I can't a value. It doesn't have the Year 1 label on the side and the price is still listed at $16.95. It has the Publisher's weekly blurb on the back, is hardcovered, and is purple and red with gold lettering on the spine of the book itself. On the inside it says Printed in the U.S.A. 37 and First American Edition, October 1998. That's pretty standard...but what's throwing me off is the number string. Mine is really short - it only says 9 10 8 followed by a decent amount of space and 9/9 0/0 01 02. I'm very confused because it seems every other book has a string of ten numbers, not three!

    I actually got this book at the Missouri State Fair in 1998 when Scholastic had a booth set up giving out books to kids. :) Any help would be appreciated!

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    1. It means you have an 8th printing of the first edition (assuming it also states "first edition"), although you probably have a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th printing of the dust jacket. It gets so convoluted. At any rate, the fact that it states the price as $16.95 is a good thing.

      I can't tell you what the value is b/c it changes constantly (depending on how flooded the market is) AND it depends heavily on the condition of both the book and the dust jacket (really, an appraiser or high end book dealer should look at it).

      I can tell you that "later printings" of the first edition in near Fine to mint condition can garner prices in the $60 - $150 range. In fact, as of this posting, someone over on Abebooks.com is asking $140 for a first edition copy with the later price tag of $17.95 - probably a little high for that particular copy.

      Another term book seller use is "Early printing" of the first edition - this might be what I'd classify your copy as, since it still has the lower price tag, and no number on the spine. These, in Fine to Mint condition, can go for $140-$250. (note: If they're not in great condition, they could go for $15, so have someone look at it & definitely take care of it).

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    2. i have a bloomsbury paper back of the chamber of secrets from the u.k.
      the nuber line reads; 20, what does this mean and is it worth anything?

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    3. Paperbacks are harder to valuate because the condition varies greatly. Based on your description, you have a 20th printing. Because the paperbacks were published after the hardcovers, it's most likely worth what you'd find it for at a used bookstore.

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    4. I, too, have this printing, and got it at a Scholastic book fair! I bought my copy in Feb/March 1999 and markered over the price -- I'm guessing so my parents wouldn't know I spent so much of my allowance on one book, haha.

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    5. I would like to know what edition my set are... I have a set of white (Bloomsbury 2000+) HP books with gold lettering, with a number line of 16. Half of them appear to be BCE (according to this :) ) but half of them aren't. I know they're not an early edition (more likely a later one) but I can't figure out which one they are. They're also paperback, no dust jackets.

      Delete
  7. What about the advanced reader? I have a paperback Advance Reader edition of the American version. Says. First American edition, Ocotber 1998. Back cover says $16.95 has the full print number line starting with 1.

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    Replies
    1. Wow, Lesley, Advance copies of HP & The Sorcerer's stone are considered quite valuable, assuming they're in good condition. There are not many on the market but you can check out the listings at AbeBooks (currently there are four copies for sale, ranging from $795 to $1500) AbeBooks

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    2. (I hope this is okay to write...) If you're looking to sell that, I'll gladly buy it from you. J.K. Rowling is one of the authors that I heavily collect. I have an ARC for Azkaban, but not for Sorcerer's Stone or Chamber of Secrets. Let me know at my email if you still have it and are interested in selling.

      Brandon

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    3. Hi Brandon,

      If you're still looking for an ARC of The Chamber of Secrets, I have one I'd be happy to sell.

      Chase

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    4. Chase,

      I'm definitely interested. Do you have pictures? Please email me at brandon.sharp225@yahoo.com.

      Brandon

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    5. Hi-
      I have recently uncovered a Advanced Reader Copy of the Sorcerer's Stone if anyone is interested. you can email me - patrick @ superduperphoto.com

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    6. Hi Everyone -
      I've decided to sell the aforementioned Advance Reader's Copy on Ebay
      http://www.ebay.com/itm/161922155077?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649
      Thanks!

      Delete
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  9. That means it's a 20th printing, so it's not an early enough printing to be worth anything. Also, Harry Potter paperbacks aren't really worth that much anyway, since they were printed after the hardback copies.

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    Replies
    1. is it a first edition, 20th printing?

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    2. Without seeing the book, I can't be sure. But unless it's a first edition, first printing,(and hardback) it's not going to be worth anything.

      Delete
  10. I'm really confused my dad bought me back from America harry potter and the sorcers stone hard back it has a purple cover with diamonds and a red spine with year 1 in a badge and Rowling underlined on the inside it has 40 39 38 0/0 01 02 and 19.95 on the inside can some one please tell me what edition it is I got it 10 years ago now lol

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    Replies
    1. Hi Danni,

      You have a later edition (38th printing), after the 2nd price bump.

      Delete
  11. Mine says 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 9/9 0/0 01 02
    Printed in the USA 37 - First American edition, October 1998
    The inside of the dust jacket says $17.95 as well.

    I am guessing that mine is the 24th printing of the first edition.It does have the purple stamped diamonds and red cloth binding with gold letters on it. But I'm wondering, how much value does this edition go for today? Also, the dust jacket on the back has a red gradient background right behind the bar code, does that mean anything? Because I've seen other books, where the background of the bar code is just plain white.

    Any help would be much appreciated :) Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, unless it's the first edition, first printing, it's not going to be worth much more than what you can get for it at a used book store.

      Delete
    2. Hi Amanda,

      You're right, you have a 24th printing, and a 4th or 5th generation dust jacket (from the sound of it). The value of the book will be dependent on condition. I've seen later printings (usually 15th-20th) with earlier generation dust jackets selling for around $50 to $100 - but they were in pristine condition (no bumps, scratches, tears, marks, etc).

      Delete
  12. hi - I have a copy that might be a first as it has the following on the copyright page:
    13579108642 8 9/9 0/0 01 02, printed in the USA 23, first american edition, October 1998
    Sadly its lacking a dj. It has purple boards with diamond pattern and a red cloth spine. Also has 'year 1' in gold on the spine as well as Arthur A. Levine books, Scholastic press.
    Is this a first edition or does the 'year 1' on the spine denote a later print? Its in pretty good condition - clean pages but minor bends to hardback corners. Any idea what this is worth?
    any info gratefully received,
    Mike

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mike,

      Without the dust jacket, the value goes down drastically. You're right in thinking that "Year 1" doesn't appear on the spine of the early printings of the first edition. So I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that you might actually have a book club edition. Book club editions are notorious for including the full number line on the copyright page, and they include the year on the spine.

      Delete
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  14. I recently picked up what I thought was a first edition first printing trade edition of The Sorcerer's Stone. It was a black cloth cook club edition and at the time I thought it was a trade edition. Any Idea of how much it is worth it had the same number line and everything as a first print trade edition.
    Also I recently picked up a Prisoner of Azkaban hard cover. I bought it because it was the first one I have seen with NO number line. It is also black cloth. I have found no information on this book and it is starting to perplex me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, Book Club Editions aren't worth very much - if you're lucky, they'll be worth the cover price. More often than not, however, you'd be lucky to get a couple of dollars for them.

      No number lines, in general, can indicate that it's a first edition/first printing, OR a MUCH LATER printing, OR a Book Club Edition. Unfortunately, there are no rules regulating this. It is quite unusual, however.

      Delete
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  16. I am a little confused about my book. It is a hardcover. It says:

    40 39 0/0 01 02
    Printed in the U.S.A. 12
    First American edition, October 1998

    My dust jacket fits the description of the 5th jacket design. It has Year 1, Rowling, Publisher's Weekly, and a red ISBN box. The only thing is that I can't seem to find a price anywhere. Am I just completely missing it?

    My cover is purple with the diamond pattern with red cloth binding and gold lettering. It is also signed by the author.

    Can you tell me what edition and printing I have? Also, does the author's signature help with the worth or not so much? Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The price should be on the front flap of the dust jacket, in the upper right corner. If there is no price, it's most likely a book club edition.

      Based on the number line above, it looks like the 39th printing.

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    2. So after comparing it my other books, it looks like someone cut the top of the dust jacket off. It was a gift to my mother so I guess they didn't want her to know how much they paid. Thank you for your information. I appreciate it!

      Delete
  17. Can someone idiot-proof this for me please?
    I understand what a 1st printing line means but i'm getting mixed signals from the web about what a 2nd through 10th printing is supposed to look like.
    I specifically need to see in writting what the line should say to be considered for other work to authenticate it. Claire keepingbusy73@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had already gotten an answer to 4th and 8th but I am getting 2 responses from the same one (7 9 10 8 6) been told 7th and 6th

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    2. If your number line is "7 9 10 8 6," then it is a 6th printing - the lowest number in that grouping.

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  18. Just curious, my copy of the first book is missing the year on the spine and I never understood why. It says:

    12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9/9 0123 4/0
    Printed in the USA 40
    First Scholastic trade paperback printing September 1999

    I'm sure its not worth anything but I was curious what edition/printing it was. Can anyone help me out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks like you have a first printing of the paperback version?

      Paperbacks, unless signed or uncorrected proofs, rarely have a high value. There are folks out there who collect paperbacks in the hope that one day there will be so few copies of a particular title, that it will become a rare commodity.

      I generally don't collect paperbacks (mostly because I have a hard time keeping them pristine).

      Check abebooks.com - do an advance search for your title in softcover & see what comes up. This will give you an idea of the current value/climate for your title.

      http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=Rowling&bi=s&bx=off&ds=30&fe=on&pn=Scholastic&recentlyadded=all&sortby=2&tn=Harry+Potter&x=34&y=12

      Delete
  19. I am curious at to the value of the first scholastic trade American paperback printing with the full number line to "1". My nephew has a copy which has never been read and is in perfect condition.

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    Replies
    1. The best online source to assess the value of a book is abebooks.com. A quick search will give you an idea of current availability and values.

      Paperback collecting is a niche for those interested in the long game. In 10 or 20 years the number of well preserved paperback copies will have dwindled to a precious few. Until then, unless the book is signed, the value (I'm guessing) will be nominal.

      Here's a link to the listings on abebooks for paperback, first editions of Harry Potter titles: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=Rowling&bi=s&bx=off&ds=30&fe=on&pn=Scholastic&recentlyadded=all&sortby=2&tn=Harry+Potter&x=34&y=12

      Delete
  20. Hi, I have the order of phoenix with the first part of the book printed where the last few chapters should be.. Has anyone seen that before?? Kim

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like a misprint. I've not come across any of these, but it does happen. Unlike baseball cards, when books are misprinted (or bound incorrectly) it doesn't add to their value. Mostly, it just irks the person interested in reading the story.

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  21. Hi there, I have a signed uk first edition of philosophers (sorcerers) stone, unread and undamaged with print run starting 30 29 28 -23. I also have a green proof copy of the prisoner of azkaban in very good condition, but alas, unsigned. I'd love to get an idea of their values, if anyone could advise? Thanks, Jenny.

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    Replies
    1. Best advice is to take it to a book dealer who specializes in collectible editions and have them give you an appraisal. Signed copies are always worth more.

      The only thing I could find on Abebooks.com regarding the later print run, signed Philosophers Stone was this: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=Rowling&bi=h&bx=off&ds=30&kn=later+printing&recentlyadded=all&sgnd=on&sortby=17&sts=t&tn=Philosopher%27s+stone&x=0&y=0

      And as far as the unsigned proof of Prisoner of Azkaban - there were actually two green covers - one was just a plain green with a white band where the text/title shows (200-250 were printed); the other is a green version of the actual cover (only 50 were printed).

      First proof (green with white band) - this link shows a signed version, but gives you some details on the published proof: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=9243707669&searchurl=an%3DRowling%26amp%3Bbi%3D0%26amp%3Bbx%3Doff%26amp%3Bds%3D30%26amp%3Bkn%3Dadvance%2Bproof%26amp%3Brecentlyadded%3Dall%26amp%3Bsortby%3D17%26amp%3Bsts%3Dt%26amp%3Btn%3DPrisoner%26amp%3Bx%3D0%26amp%3By%3D0

      Second proof (green version of final cover) - again, shows details of the published proof: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=593588831&searchurl=an%3DRowling%26amp%3Bbi%3D0%26amp%3Bbx%3Doff%26amp%3Bds%3D30%26amp%3Bkn%3Dadvance%2Bproof%26amp%3Brecentlyadded%3Dall%26amp%3Bsortby%3D17%26amp%3Bsts%3Dt%26amp%3Btn%3DPrisoner%26amp%3Bx%3D0%26amp%3By%3D0

      I hope this helps with your research. Please do seek out someone who can actually assess the value of your books, and it would probably be a good idea to insure them.

      Delete
  22. Hi Nicki, My sorcerer's stone has the 16.95 price, the publishers weekly quote and says simply "Rowling" on the spine. Inside it says: 7 9 10 8 8 9/9 0/0 01 02 printed in the u.s.a. 37
    Could you please provide me some info on which version it is and price?
    Thank you,
    Rob

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rob,

      It looks like you have a 7th printing - also known as an early printing. The value will seriously depend on the condition of the book (does it have folded corners? tears? marks of any kind? bookshelf wear? Is the binding loose or tight? does it lean when you stand it upright? What condition is the dust jacket in? etc.)

      If you do a search on Abebooks.com (or follow this link: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=Rowling&bi=h&bx=off&ds=30&kn=7th+printing&recentlyadded=all&sortby=17&sts=t&tn=Harry+Potter+and+the+Sorcerers+Stone&x=0&y=0), 3 listings for 7th printings come up with asking prices of $75 to $300.

      I find it's helpful to read the listing descriptions to see what condition those books are in. The value of the book (for insurance purposes) will usually be higher than the asking price.

      If you're trying to sell the book, then you're at the whim of the market and what people are willing to pay on any given day.

      Delete
    2. Hi Nicki,
      Thanks for getting back to me. Not looking to sell it. As it was the start of many happy memories. I was just curious what version it was and what market value it had as opposed to my own personal valuation.
      So once again thank you for clearing it up a bit for me.
      Best,
      Rob

      Delete
  23. Hi, I have an advanced reader' edition of Harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban that is purple and black checkered on the cover. On the inside it says 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9/9 0/0 1 2 3 4
    Printed in the USA 37
    First American Edition, September 1999
    Is this copy worth anything

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  24. I have the last 3 books. All first editions usa 23. I am trying to find out what the value might be. Not sure I want to sell them but I am curious to see what they are valued at. My first comment wouldn't post. Hope this goes through.

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  25. Hello I found a hard cover of the Sorcerers Stone. I was just wondering if it'd be worth anything at all. Dust jacket has embossed gold lettering, price inside cover read $16.95. Also just a side note, it is misprinted too. The binding is actually upside down or backwards compared the the book itself. Has the purple diamond and red cloth hard cover too.
    Copyright page reads:

    9 10 9/9 0/0 0/1 0/2
    Printed in U.S.A 37
    First American Edition October 1998

    If you could shed any interesting light on my book it'd be great. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have a first printing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This is a first printing done in Mexico. This book has pages that are out of order. It has has section of pages that are missing and a section of pages that are printed twice. I cannot find any information on the internet about anyone who has a book like this. Does anyone have any information on this book? I have contacted the publisher but I am awaiting a reply.

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  27. Hi Nicki!

    I have a copy of the Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone with every identification you have listed except the line number is "3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 8 9/9 0/0 01 02", may I ask if the missing "1" means that this is the second print?

    Here is the complete info:
    "3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 8 9/9 0/0 01 02"
    "Printed in the U.S.A 23"
    "First American edition"
    Purple, diamond-stamped board and red cloth spine with gold stamped "J.K. Rowling" and without year 1

    Thank you for your help Nicki,
    John

    ReplyDelete
  28. Kia ora Nicki,

    I have picked up a first American Edition 2003, 'Printed in the USA - 23' from a Church Op Shop here in Auckland, N.Z. No dj. Has numbers 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 03 04 05 06 07. My sons copy is from the UK, and others first editions Australia. However this American Edition looks so different which attracted me to it, and the hard cover is a kind of a green with a cream/white strip down the side and spine with the lettering in the same greenish colour. Love to understand what these numbers mean as a bit different from your example. You started this page ages ago so hope your are still answering questions haha. Thank you Gayleen M.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Nicki!

    I have a "Sorcerer's Stone" with the numbers 65 64 63 62 61 60 59 58 and 01 02, priced at $19.99, printed in the U.S.A. 45 First American Edition, October 1998. The cover is red and purple cloth with the diamonds and gold lettering on the spine and Rowling Year 1. What printing is it and what would you say it's worth?
    Thanks! Chris

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi All!

    I get so many questions on this subject that I think I'll do another post addressing some of them.

    - Just some quick notes though:

    In the number line, usually the first batch of numbers in the line will indicate the printing, so:

    If your number line looks like this: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9/9 0/0 1 2 3 4
    Then: the lowest number in the set 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 indicates the print run. In this case the lowest number is 1, meaning a first printing.

    If your number looks like this: 65 64 63 62 61 60 59 58, then your print run is 58, or the 58th printing.

    If your number looks like this: 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2, then the print run is 2 (2d printing)

    The second set of numbers in the string indicate the year your particular book was published.

    If your number string looks like this: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 03 04 05 06 07, look at the string starting with 03 04 05...
    This indicates that your book was published in 03 or 2003.

    This number string can also appear as 9/9 0/0 01 02... 9/9 = 1999 0/0 = 2000

    As for the different editions, there have been so many now that I think we'll need to do an updated post just to acknowledge the man editions out there.

    Thanks everyone for continuing to be interested!
    xo
    .n

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have a paperback copy of a second print run (10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 9/9 0 1 2 4/0) of the Sorcerer's Stone. What intrigues me is I am missing pages 249-280, instead it repeats pages 217-248 again. I have not been able to find any information about it anywhere else. I was hoping maybe you could shed some light on this binding error.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I have a 6th edition without the diamond pattern on the boards that your description indicates was how it was made. Was that a mistake? Does that make it worth less or more? Did this only happen with the 6th edition?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No reason was given for the change. I haven't seen any evidence that it has an effect on the value, it's just different.

      Delete
  33. Over on Abe's everyone's talking about the "Guardian blurb" on the back of the dust jacket. Was this only for the first version of the dust jacket? I've got a 1999 first edition 6th printing with just "Rowling" on the spine, and a Publisher's Weekly blurb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The guardian qoute was the first state dust jacket and is very rare and is found only on the 1st print 1st state books (13579 10 86421. 8 9/9 1234) and some of the 2nd print 1state books ( 3579 10 8642. 8 9/9 1234) Sorcers stone

      Delete
  34. Apparently I have a Goblet of fire that reads 10 thru 1 1st printing printed in 2000 0/0 1 2 and has the 23 on it. But what i have is 1 of the 25 that has a sketch of harry drawn and signed by the artist for years I thought it was part of the book. What is the value of this book?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, that sounds incredible! I would highly suggest that you seek out someone to actually appraise the book. Check with booksellers in your area to see if they can recommend anyone & do a quick keyword search over at Abebooks.com to get a sense of the value.

      Delete
  35. My Sorcerer's Stone is worthless because it is in horrible condition (pages fallen out, yellowing, water stains, missing dust jacket, mangled spine), but to be fair, I didn't know that it was going to be famous when I first read it the first 15 times. I'm curious about the edition though - From the copyright page:
    5 7 9 10 8 6 4 8 9/9 0/0 01 02
    Printed in the U.S.A. 23
    First American edition, October 1998

    The cover is the red binding/purple diamonds. I can't see the price because of the missing dust jacket, and the gold letters on the binding are faded and hard to make out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deena,
      Looks like yours is a 4th printing.

      Delete
  36. I Found a hard cover first edition of this book, it's not the first print cause mine also reads 5791086 8 9/9 0/0 01 02 and doesn't have the diamond-stamped board, but it has the $16.95 price tag, the publishers weekly and it is in pretty good condition! I just want to know if it has any kind of high value? I found it at godwill at it cost me $3 I think I got an awesome deal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura,
      You may indeed have gotten an awesome deal. One of the earlier printings, for some reason, lacks the diamond embossed stamping. This looks like it's a 5th printing. You'll want to check the size of the book and make sure it's not a book club edition (which lacks the 2d barcode on the back cover).

      I'd take it to someone who can evaluate it - your local bookseller may know who specializes in this, so ask around.

      Delete
  37. I bought the Sorcerer's Stone a long time ago and put it away. While looking I noticed the dust jacket does not have the year on it but when I removed it the actual spine of the book does. Cannot figure out why or if it is a miss print. Can you shed some light on this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It may be that the cover is not original to the book - or it may be that they had a few older dust jackets when they started printing the newer version of the book. It is a puzzle though.

      Delete
  38. You first posted this a long time ago but I just found it and I have really appreciated and enjoyed this exchange! Nicki, you will appreciate this: I called a local rare book store to ask about my HP and the Sorcerer's Stone and the manager told me, "It's probably in the $15-$25 range. People aren't really after books like that. They are looking for .... more... IMPORTANT books." I think I will find a less snooty dealer:) My book has all the elements you describe above except that I guess I have a 2nd printing because the number sequence is 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2. It sounds like it might be worth a little more than $15-25! Would you agree? Thanks for such helpful information!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does look, based on the number line, that you have a 2nd printing. I'd check on Abebooks.com to see if there are any listed there. That will give you an idea of value. As for your book dealer -he's probably seen his share of HP books that people thought were extremely valuable when in fact they weren't. It's also possible that people in your area (or those buying from him) aren't interested in HP. But yeah, you might try another bookseller/appraiser.

      Delete
  39. i have 2 hardcover copies of HP and the sorcerers stone both state first edition oct 1998 however one printed in USA with a 10 after and has printed price of 22.99 and my other copy was printed in Mexico with 59 after and is priced at 19.95 any idea if either is worth anything? Both are in very good condition with dust jackets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christopher,

      They both appear to be later printings just based on the price of the book. I'm guessing they may be worth $5-$10 in pristine condition, but without more information I really couldn't say for sure.

      Delete
  40. i have 2 hardcover copies of HP and the sorcerers stone both state first edition oct 1998 however one printed in USA with a 10 after and has printed price of 22.99 and my other copy was printed in Mexico with 59 after and is priced at 19.95 any idea if either is worth anything? Both are in very good condition with dust jackets.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I was wondering if you could help we decide what mines worth? It says 40.39 38 37 36 35. 9/9 0/0 01 02. Printed in the USA 12. First American edition, October 1998
    It is purple and red with the diamon pattern and perfect condtion!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sarah,

      It looks like you have a 35th printing. If you go over to Abebooks.com and search for the title with the keyword "35th printing" you may get a better idea of its value.

      Delete
  42. I have Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone. It has ROWLINGS in gold and a gold line below that, then a gold line then an almost square with year 1 inside it. Inside numbers 50 49 48 47 46 45 44 43 42 41 00 01 02 03 04 Printed in Mexico 59 First American edition, October 1998. Hard back cloth with red on small portion on front and around to other side, rest is purple with triangles.???

    ReplyDelete
  43. mine looks like this; 49 0/0 1234
    printed in the usa 37
    First American edition October 1998

    this means?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This means you have a 49th printing, published in 2000.

      Delete
  44. hi i was wondering if someone could help me i have a almost mint condition hardcover of harry potter and the philosopher's stone with the numbers 26 27 28 29 30 i was wondering what edition/print this is

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have a 26th printing, it looks like.

      Delete
  45. I have a US first edition with the following: First American Edition October 1998; Printed in the USA 37; code: 30 29 28. 27 26. 25. 24. 23; 9/9 0/0. 01. 02.
    Spine Iists name ROWLING, includes Year 1. Inside is red and purple with diamond-shapes. This book has never been read, there are no rips, marks, writing ---- all pages are in original state as it has not been opened except for first page to read the codes.
    Any idea of its value? Would appreciate hearing from you. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dee,

      It looks like you have a 23rd printing, published in 1999. The dust jacket is possibly the 5th state or later. I'm guessing that the price is $19.99? I've seen 15th printings (priced at $17.99) list for about $45, so I'd guess that a 23rd printing would go for $20-$30 in pristine condition. I know a lot of people try to sell copies for much more, but unless it's an early printing or it's signed by the artist or author, it's not going to have a higher value. (And especially as the market gets flooded with older copies.)

      Delete
  46. Hi,
    I have a very fine hardcover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. First American edition, October 1998; Printed in the U.S.A. 23; code 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 8 9/9 0/0 01 02
    It's the second version of the dust jacket (Publisher's Weekly blurb), J.K. Rowling on the spine. The price was clipped out. The back of the dust jacket has 51695 above the smaller barcode to the right of the ISBN, etc. The book has never been read. I am wondering about its value? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks like you have a 4th printing, published in 1998 with the price of $16.95. The price-clipped jacket will reduce the value, but it still may be worth a pretty penny. I would go to Abebooks.com and do a quick search for the title with the keyword "4th printing" and "Price clipped" to gauge its value.

      Delete

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