First-edition Harry Potter books are extremely valuable—even more so if their pages contain a handwritten note from JK Rowling herself. A schoolteacher who owns early copies of Harry Potter book 1 and 2 in the series had both of these factors working in her favor when she brought them to the BBC program Antiques Roadshow for appraisal. Together, the two books are worth £2,000 to £3,000 (approximately $2600 to $3900), according to expert Justin Croft, who evaluated the books in a recent episode filmed in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
As the Daily Express reports, a well-read paperback copy of the first book, dated 1997 and bearing the British title Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was not a first edition. However, it did contain a thoughtful handwritten note from the author—a clear indication that it was signed prior to Rowling’s rise to stardom.
“It says, I think, ‘To the Pope family, with many thanks for introducing Harry to so many people, JK Rowling,’” Croft says, reading the inscription aloud. The second book, a first-edition hardcover copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets from 1998, also contained an inscription which read, “To the Pope family, again, hope you like this one as much, JK Rowling.”
The owner of the books said she read Harry Potter to her primary school students about 20 years ago. When she learned that Rowling would be doing a book signing nearby, she decided to bring her students along. “The children were so excited about it. They wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters next and they came in with money to buy the new book,” she said. “And JK Rowling took an hour with us.”
Once Rowling became a household name, she hardly had time to write a personalized note for every fan. “This is right almost back at the beginning where she’s signing quite generously, quite fully,” Croft said of the books, explaining their value.
After learning the estimate of the books, the owner replied, “I think they will be going in Gringotts’s vault tonight.”
[h/t Daily Express]