Antiques Roadshow expert horrified by condition of Harry Potter books ‘Worst I’ve seen’

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Antiquarian bookseller Justin didn’t hide his disappointment when the guest turned up to an Antiques Roadshow instalment in Edinburgh with two of the first Harry Potter books. The torn apart and barely held-together pages horrified Justin, who admitted the books were in “the worst condition” he’d ever seen. However, he was able to look past the poor condition of the books to reveal an impressive valuation of around £5,000 based on an inscription by JK Rowling in both books.

As he glared at the iconic books, Justin commented: “So a typical Roadshow conversation might start with me saying, ‘Thank you very much for bringing these in’ and saying something about the condition, saying how wonderfully you’ve kept them.”

As the guest gave a guilty grin, Justin added: “But I really can’t say that here, can I?

“I mean these are possibly the worst condition I’ve ever seen on the Roadshow.”

He went on: “Tell me why you’ve brought them.”

“Growing up, Harry Potter meant an awful lot to me and my family,” the owner of the books explained.

“The Harry Potter paperback that you have there, I was given in my stocking one year for Christmas and when I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

“I read it multiple times myself, passed it to my siblings, it went round and round us all, which is why it’s in the condition that you can see.”

“So that copy itself has been read by multiple people, not just yourself?” Justin clarified.

The guest answered: “Multiple people, multiple times.”

She added: “And when the second book came out, JK Rowling came to the Edinburgh Book Festival, and we watched her reading an expert from Harry Potter Two and she did a signing afterwards.

“So that’s where I got the second book, and she signed it for me.

“She signed the first book first, and then she signed the second book.”

“Well, let’s have a look at the inscriptions because that’s a lovely story,” the specialist admitted.

“It’s wonderful to hear, really mainly about your love of reading the books as a child anyway, but also getting to go to a signing, to meet the author.

“As I’m sure you well know, after The Chamber of Secrets, it was pretty hard to get to meet JK Rowling and to have a signature done.

“So to have two signatures is tremendous.”

Picking up the first book, Justin commented: “So this is on The Philosopher’s Stone, which is the first book. A great first book, this isn’t a first edition is it?

“But the inscription reads ‘To Helen, this is the condition I like to see my books in (read) JK Rowling.’

“And ‘read’ is underlined with two lines. It’s a brilliant inscription and relates absolutely directly to the book.”

Thankfully, Justin explained he would be valuing the books entirely on the basis in the writing.

“So I think I’d say possibly £1,000 to £1,500 on this, really just for the inscription.”

“Oh wow,” the guest replied, as he picked up the second book and continued: “And this, being a first edition – £3,000 to £3,500.”

Looking speechless, the owner commented: “Amazing.”

Antiques Roadshow airs on Sundays at 8pm on BBC One.

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