6 First Edition Books That Sold For Lots Of Money

SWNS © Jim Spencer, head of books at Hansons Auctioneers, with the Harry Potter proof copy.

A rare Harry Potter proof copy of the first edition of the Philosopher’s Stone is estimated to fetch £16,000 at auction. It was bought for just 13p! Let’s take a look at some other rare copies of books that have sold for a lot of money.

What a magical find! This proof version is so early the author’s name is incorrect. The typo reads ‘J A Rowling’ and ‘Joanne Rowling’ instead of J K Rowling.

This ‘Uncorrected Proof Copy’ is a funny little slice of history, which pre-dates the Harry Potter global phenomenon and J K Rowling becoming a household name. It was purchased along with a couple of other books for a total of 40p back in 1997. Amazing that it’s now set to auction at between £12,000-£16,000!

There have been so many stories over the years about old books being uncovered and then selling for thousands. Here are some more great examples.



Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Secret agent, James Bond, has arguably grown even more popular over the years following the film franchise. So it’s unsurprising that a first edition copy of this 1953 classic sold for £22,500 at auction in 2017.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

In 2007, a rare first edition Wuthering Heights, originally published in 1847, sold for an impressive £114,000 at Bonhams London auction. This was more than double the expected sale price.



Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

A first edition copy of this famous Beatrix Potter story sold at auction for £43,000 in 2016. It featured 41 full-page line drawings and was incredibly rare having been printed privately by the author in 1901 following rejection from several children’s book publishers.

The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie

A 1954 copy of the book, signed by the author, sold for a smaller fortune of nearly £2,000 at a Cotswolds auction in June 2023.


Image of a rare first edition copy of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone.

First edition Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter books are like striking gold. A first edition Harry Potter book purchased at a Highland bookshop 26 years ago has just sold for more than £55,000! The hardback copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, first published in 1997, is one of just 200 copies from the novel’s first-ever print run that were distributed to the shops. The seller bought theirs from a wee bookshop café at the end of a single-track road near Ullapool for just £10. They found it years later stashed away in a cupboard under their stairs – how fitting.


Check you cupboards, lofts and basements. You might be in for a couple thousand pounds or maybe even six figures!

In the meantime, here are our top book recommendations for the winter months ahead (CLICK HERE)


Hannah McLaren

I've worked at DC Thomson for six years! I began as an intern at My Weekly and The Scots Magazine, which was extended by a few months to help out at The People's Friend. I then covered maternity as Celebrity Editor for My Weekly, before I became Multimedia Journalist at The Scots Magazine. Currently I'm writing digital content across each title.