The auction of a rare Harry Potter book found at an Oxfordshire primary school has enjoyed a “fairytale ending” that will greatly benefit the school.
An uncorrected proof copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which was purchased for £1 in 1997 has been sold for £15,000 ($19,000). The new owner plans to display the book in a local museum in the hopes of attracting tourism to the area.
The uncorrected proof features a typo of the author's name – it is spelt “JA Rowling” on the title page. It was originally bought by St Kenelm’s primary school at a warehouse sale and "was not thought to have any value,” said Bob Alder, former headteacher of the school.
First editions were soon purchased by the school, meaning the proof copy was left largely untouched on the shelves. By 2002, the school realised that the proof – one of only 200 printed by Bloomsbury – may have value owing to the popularity of the book series, and it was stored away. However, in 2015, the copy went missing, and “there was concern it had been thrown away in a clear out of old paperbacks”, said Alder.
The book was found in a tidy-up this summer, and the school decided to put it up for sale and a local buyer agreed to a price of £15,000. The good news is that the money will go towards helping schoolchildren “develop their love of literature”, said Alder.