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Hundreds of bookshops, libraries and schools across Great Britain are preparing to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in style.

Bloomsbury will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Harry Potter, encouraging more than 600 students to don the young wizard’s garb in Bolton in the North of England,

Meanwhile, 20 bookshops in Britain will hold Harry Potter book quizzes during the school summer holidays, with the winning teams going to London to take part in the finals.

The British Library will also host a new exhibition ‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic’, which aims to capture the traditions of folklore and magic which are at the heart of the Harry Potter series. Opening 20th October 2017, it will be the first British Library exhibition inspired by a single series of books by a living author.

The exhibition will showcase the history of magic across the world, using a range of books and manuscripts, and combine treasures from the Library’s collections with previously-unseen material from the Bloomsbury archives and personal items from J K Rowling.

A poll to find the nation’s favourite character from the Harry Potter series was also launched on Monday 12th June, with the winning character will be revealed by National Book Tokens on Monday 26th June.

That date marks the 20th anniversary of the first publication of Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Starting with an initial hardback print run of just 500 copies the series has now gone on to sell over 450 million copies worldwide in 79 different languages, Bloomsbury said.

Global online marketplace AbeBooks, which specialises in rare books, fine art and collectibles, has said there may be thousands of dollars worth of Harry Potter books just gathering dust.

Hardcover first edition first printings of the 1997 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone have become the ‘Holy Grail’ for Potter collectors… out of the 500 which were published, 300 went to libraries. The main characteristics of a 1997 first edition first issue are a print line that reads 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 and credits “Joanne Rowling” not JK – prices on AbeBooks vary from $40,000 to $55,000.