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Harry Potter books left on shelf for 20 years are now worth thousands
Two Harry Potter books signed by JK Rowling and left on a shelf for more than 20 years are now worth thousands. School librarian Janette Tuckwell bumped into the legendary author by chance when she gave a talk to pupils in 1999.
After the question and answer session, JK Rowling signed two first edition copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and gave them to Janette. The mum-of-two, who lives near Bristol, England, kept the books on a dusty shelf for 23 years before realising they might be valuable.
Hansons Auctioneers are now selling the copies, which are expected to fetch between £1,500 and £2,000. Janette was working at Millfield Preparatory School in Glastonbury, Somerset, when she received a call from staff at Waterstones book shop in nearby Wells.
She said: “They told me they had a children’s author coming to the shop and ‘would I Iike to arrange for pupils to come along?’ I said yes and, together with an English teacher, took a Year 6 class of 10- and 11-year-old pupils to the store.
“The children’s author turned out to be JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books. At that time, her books were popular but the Potter phenomenon hadn’t gone global. “She was brilliant with the pupils. I remember being very impressed by her dedication and the way she handled the children’s questions.
“If they asked something about the books she would refer to a character or plot line to make sure they had read it. She was very thorough and professional.
“I took a photo of her with the pupils and she signed two books for me. They have been gathering dust on a bookshelf for more than 20 years but, after reading an article about how sought after Potter books are, I decided to contact Hansons Auctioneers.
The first edition, 23rd issue paperback of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and a first edition, first issue paperback of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets will go under the hammer in March. A photograph of the pupils posing with JK Rowling will also be included with the books, which are being sold as a pair.
Hansons’ books expert Jim Spencer said: “In a market completely flooded with fake Rowling signatures, it’s lovely to have such great provenance with these signed books. It’s nice to think of those excited children going to meet JK Rowling in 1999. “It highlights just what makes Harry Potter so special. Not many books get children queuing up to meet the author.
“The original photograph is proof of the event, which means collectors around the world can bid with confidence. It is also a heart-warming memento of a reading craze, before any of the films had been made.”
The signed Harry Potter books will be sold on March 7.