First edition Harry Potter book bought for 1p expected to sell for thousands

10 December 2019, 12:46

The signed book
The signed book. Picture: Hanson's
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A first edition Harry Potter book which was signed by JK Rowling and bought for a penny could sell for £2,500 at an upcoming auction.

The first edition of Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets was bought on Amazon and will be up for sale at Hanson's Auctioneers on Thursday.

Signed by the author in blue ink it reads: "To Alison, with very best wishes, J. K. Rowling (hope you like this as much as No. 1!."

Mark Cavoto, 51, a businessman who owns around 1,500 books from the series, ordered the collector's item for a penny plus postage without realising it was signed.

The father of five has bought and sold around 3,000 Harry Potter books since his daughter, Holly, now 25, began collecting them and he realised they could be sold at a high asking price.

Mr Cavoto, from Buxton, Derbyshire, said: "When Holly was a child, she loved Harry Potter books and started her own collection.

"About 10 years ago, we decided to sell some of her older books and three of them were snapped up within 20 minutes on eBay for £9.99 each.

"I'm a businessman with a shop in Buxton and I knew this was a business opportunity.

"I checked the ISBN numbers and sourced the same three books second-hand on Amazon, bought them for a penny each plus postage and sold them in minutes for £9.99 each on eBay."

Mr Cavoto, who helps collectors source items through his business Partworks Collectables, said he was buying around 10 books a day when he came across the signed copy with Holly.

He said: "Holly liked to open all the Jiffy bags.

"One day she glanced at a book she'd just opened and said, 'This is no good, it's got ink on it'.

"She carried on opening the others then went back to it.

"She stared at me and said, 'Oh my God, it's been signed by JK Rowling - and it's a first impression'.

"I thought she was messing with me but it was true.

"It was signed 'To Alexandra, JK Rowling' and was a 1998 hardback first edition of Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets, the second novel in the series."

Jim Spencer, Hanson's books expert
Jim Spencer, Hanson's books expert. Picture: Hanson's

The auctioneers based in Wolseley Bridge, Staffs, also sold a rare first edition of Harry Potter And Tthe Philosopher's Stone, the first book in the series, for £57,040 in October.

This book was in high demand because only 500 were printed, and most went to schools and libraries.

Jim Spencer, book expert at Hanson's, said: "We've had phenomenal success with Harry Potter books this year - so much so I'm still getting about 50 emails a day from people who think their copy may be valuable.

"I'm delighted Mark has come to us with his amazing story and some of his books.

"He must have amassed the biggest collection of Harry Potter novels in the world."