Joanne Rowling (1997) ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, UK first edition, first printing, published by Bloomsbury, issued in paperback. This is the true first edition which was published simultaneously with the hardback edition.
Full number line: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Signifying it’s first edition first print status.
The hardback edition of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ had a print run of 500 copies; this paperback edition was published simultaneously in a run of 5,150 copies (Errington, 2017, p.7). All first issue points present: the Wendy Cooling blurb on the cover; full number line on the copyright page and no space between Taylor and 1997. On page 53 ‘wand’ is listed twice. Spelling error at the back panel in ‘Philosopher’s’ with wrong word order in ‘School of Wizardry and Witchcraft’.
Condition: this is a solid very good condition copy. There are no library stamps, no bookplates, and no previous owners’ inscriptions inside the book of any sorts. No under linings, no scribbles, no sketches etc. inside the text as often seen in other examples. No fading on wrappers and no tears, no heavy scratches or heavy creases.
Slight edge wear to the wrappers with a light corner crease to top corner. In some places the laminate has started to lift a little. The book has been read and the spine has the typical central crease resulting from being opened. However, the spine seems to be unfaded. The page block is lightly toned commensurate with age in line with the cheap paper stock used.
However, the page block edges are not foxed as sometimes seen. All in all, a solid very good copy. In 1997 Rowling was an unknown author, copies were read and handled by children, and paperbacks being paperbacks, the vast majority of those 5,150 copies are quite badly damaged to varying degrees.
The first hardback edition was intended for public libraries and hence the first print run of 500 copies was therefore low. Of those about 300-350 went straight to libraries. As a result first hardback edition copies in collectable condition fetch a high five-number sum these days. The paperback issue was intended for the general public. However, even some of the paperbacks ended up in libraries receiving corresponding treatment.
This is the book which started the global Harry Potter phenomenon. Highly sought after and a landmark book that will always hold its value given its pop culture significance.
Check here for more information about what to look out for in collectable Harry Potter books.
Check out more of our collectable Harry Potter First Editions