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There have only been three titles to date, the first of them published as recently as 1997, but for a copy of that first book you are now looking at five figures!

One London dealer who is currently offering first editions of all three Harry Potter titles for £18,000 describes Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as “the hardest book in hyper-modern collecting”.

It would seem that the first edition was limited to just 500 copies, of which 200 were the uncorrected proof copies that have made a number of auction appearances over the past six months, but of the 300 copies issued as the first edition proper, over half went to libraries and others, so I have been told, went to Australia. No first edition copy has been seen at auction, and other than the set already mentioned, my online search revealed only two other copies – priced at £14,000 and £15,000.

And the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, of 1998, isn’t cheap either.

Despite the popularity of the first book, the initial print run is believed to have been 1000-2000 copies only and dealers are asking between £2000 and £3000 each for them. However, at Sotheby’s on May 11, a copy that was not only mint but signed on the dedication leaf was sold at a low estimate £2000 and an unsigned copy in a slightly cockled jacket with some creasing to the endpapers was knocked down at a much lower than predicted £400, so there is some hope for Hogwarts addicts.

And let us not forget last year’s book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The initial print run of 500 was still low, and there is an uncorrected first state that I have seen priced at £450. Look for a dropped line 24 on page 7 and ‘Joanne’ in the copyright statement.