Before J.K. Rowling became uber-famous for publishing the Harry Potter series, her first edition book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, released in 1997, had only 500 copies. So, no wonder why this exceptionally rare UK hardcover first edition can fetch up to $55,000 depending on their condition! Of those 500 copies, 300 were distributed to libraries and few of those are considered collectible which has helped increase prices for the remaining 200.
A true first edition can be identified using a printing number, which can be found at the very beginning of the book. Bloomsbury Publishing use a reverse number system to identify when a book was printed. If the number ends with one ( for example 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1) and the crediting of “Joanne Rowling,” not JK on the title page, you may have a first edition and can be better for $40,000 to $55,000.
A handful of advance proof copies are available at AbeBooks ranging from $7,500 to $13,500. Prices for Australian first editions vary between $200 and $2000. The first editions of the deluxe edition from 1999 are also desirable with prices from $450 to $2,500. Paperback first editions of the Philosopher’s Stone are also quite scare and attract four-figure price-tags – sometimes five figures if in excellent condition.