Since 1997, Antiques Roadshow has made a name for itself by inspiring us all to clean out our closets and attics and garages in search of untold fortunes. Now, a recent episode of Antiques Roadshow has reminded viewers that their Harry Potter books could be worth thousands of dollars. The episode, set at Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland turned up two early editions of the first two Harry Potter books, belonging to a schoolteacher, which were valued at £2,000 to £3,000, or about $2600 to $3900 U.S.
Diehard Harry Potter collectors know that that isn't a huge amount of money for one of J.K. Rowling's children's books to fetch at auction. According to the Daily Mirror, certain copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone — the original title of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the U.K. — sold for £9,000 in 2007, and "the most paid at auction for a single JK Rowling book was a staggering £1.95million. [sic]"
However, the Harry Potter books that appeared on the Aberdeenshire episode of Antiques Roadshow have a little something that makes them extra special. Both books contain handwritten inscriptions from J.K. Rowling herself, which increase their value significantly. The volume of Philosopher's Stone reads, "To the Pope family, with many thanks for introducing Harry to so many people, J.K. Rowling," while the first-edition Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets says, "To the Pope family, again, hope you like this one as much, J.K. Rowling."
If you're lucky enough to have a Harry Potter book, of any edition, that is signed by J.K. Rowling, it's probably worth a considerable amount of money to collectors. It's not likely to have such a personalized message, however. The Harry Potter books featured on Antiques Roadshow date back to the beginning of Rowling's career, when her book signings were not so swamped with eager readers and their longsuffering parents. The owner says she read the books to the children in her class when they came out, and that she "took 30 of them in to meet [Rowling]" when she held a signing in Aberdeen. From the episode:
"J.K. Rowling took an hour with us, she inscribed the children's books that we bought. And yeah, she read the first chapter of Chamber of Secrets to the children."
I believe I speak for all Potterheads when I tell you how jealous of this woman — and those kids — I am.