Bloomsbury Potter Books
Proofs or proof copies are unpublished books that are produced before the actual finished product. Sometimes they are used for garnering praise, quotes about the work, and to help raise awareness of new books/authors (as in the case of Harry Potter). These are usually sent out to members of the press; some can be held for in-office use as well. Bloomsbury proof copies look very different than the published product. In incredibly rare instances, trial jackets were mailed along with the proofs. Philosopher's Stone trial jackets are the most coveted and are exceedingly rare. Chamber of Secrets trial jackets are also rare, but are the most common in the market; that said, I've seen 3 Chamber trial jackets, no Philosopher's Stone trial jackets, and 1 Azkaban trial jacket, so common is highly relative; each of the trial jackets are incredibly scarce. For more information about the Azkaban trial jacket, Click Here.
Proof Copy, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The Chamber of Secrets Proof copies are the only ones of the 4 produced to have the magic wand doodle at the top of the front cover. A handful of these proofs were released with trial jackets, which are quite different from the published cover.
Proof Copy, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
There are 2 variants of the Azkaban proof, a purple copy and a green copy. We don't know how many of each were issues as those in the book trade have stated various numbers throughout the years. We do know, however, the purple came first and that there are 300 total Azkaban proofs between the purple and green copies. The purple also has rows of Xs near the back of the proof in place of letters, which may be a reason for the production of the green. While very, very rare, signed copies of proofs do exist.
1st Print, 1st Edition (Softcover)Philospher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 1st Print, 1st Edition (1997)
* These pictures come from my Softcover 1st Print, 1st Edition Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone; Note: the Hardcover 1st Print, 1st Edition will look the EXACT same, just with hard boards and not soft wraps.
Of all the Harry Potter books published, this book is the one that will arguably fetch the highest prices at auction and is so coveted by collectors, whether signed or unsigned. The hardcover format is the most desired as well as most rare between the hardcover and softcover.
If you're considering collecting Harry Potter books and/or wanting to purchase a 1st Print Philsopher's Stone, make sure your book meets ALL these points below; there are fake books about the marketplace as well as many who are confused between Ted Smart and Bloomsbury editions.
Additionally, there is a lot of misinformation about Harry Potter first prints, about how many books were printed, what features a true first should have, and many more.
For starters, the hardcover and softcover books were printed and published alongside each other, making both true first print/first editions and highly prized as a result. Hard and soft cover books are identical.
*500 books printed, issued without jacket
*300 of these were sent to libraries around the U.K.
*200 of these were sent to bookstores
*5150 books printed
*sent out to bookstores throughout U.K.
First Print Points: EVERY 1st Print (hard & softcover) MUST have these points
1) Front Cover
a) Wendy Cooling Quote to front bottom edge
*Only 1st and 2nd Print hardcovers and 1st - 5th softcovers have this highly valuable quote
2) Back Cover
b) "School of Wizardry and Witchcraft" to top right (instead of the common "School of Witchcraft and Wizardry")
c) "Philsopher's" typo to middle right
3) Copyright Page
a) Complete 1-10 Number Line
b) "Thomas Taylor1997" typo
4) Page 53
a) "1 Wand" listed twice in Harry's Hogwart's List
--importantly, THIS is the only book in which this error is valuable. There is a LOT of misinformation surrounding this now famous "1 Wand Error", namely that it's rare and as such, valuable; neither are true. Because of a printing mishap with both hard and soft cover books somewhat early on (mid twenties give or take), many Bloomsbury UK books have this issue. Moreover, every 1st Edition (hard and soft cover) Canadian Philosopher's Stone has this "1 Wand" issue. Meaning, there are millions of books with this error and of them, only 5650 books are valuable. In Very Good or better condition,a softcover 1st print can easily go for $6,000.00 or greater. The hardcover books in Very Good or better can easily reach $15,000.000 or greater
*2nd Print hardcover and 2nd - 5th Print softcovers do NOT have this page 53 issue.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 1st Edition, 10th Print (1998)
This book was actually produced and printed in 1998. Notice how the front cover's bottom quote has changed from the Wendy Cooling quote to one from the Sunday Telegraph--this is important to easily and quickly tell more valuable books from the not-so-valuable; the Cooling quote books are always going to be valued higher than the Sunday Telegraph quote books (unless signed or condition is strikingly terribly). The back cover reads "School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" as do all books apart from the first prints, and the "Philsopher's" typo was fixed beginning 2nd print onward. The spacing of "Thomas Taylor1997" is still not fixed and the book doesn't have the page 53 "1 Wand" issue. The number line reads "10" indicating a 10th print.
Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1st Print, 1st Edition (1998)
1st Print, 1st Edition Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. These books are fairly rare, even though they seem to frequently show up on popular e-commerce sites (like eBay), it is important to remember that many weren't printed because the series still was not that popular, although it was definitely gaining a strong foothold in British popular culture. The Rowling bibliography gives the number of 1st prints produced as 706, but I'm fairly certain that more were released given how many I have owned and seen for sale over the years.
First Print, Edition Points:
Original Publisher: Bloomsbury (NOT Ted Smart)
Original Price: £10.99
1) Copyright Page has a full number line ( 10 - 1) with the 1 indicating a 1st Print.
2) Printed by Clays St. Ives
3) Reviews from the Sunday Times and the Independence on Saturday
4) Lacks the Hogwarts Crest on the Copyright Page
5) Blue Badge on the front cover's bottom left corner
1st Adult Edition
The 1st Adult editions were issued only in softcover, with the 1st Print Philosopher's Stones being published in 1998, just a year after the publication of the first book. No hardcovers of these editions were issued. Only books 1-4 were released in this edition. Cover Credit for Book 1: Ogle Winston Link; Book 2: John Turner/Tony Stone Images; Book 3: Eagle © Michio Hoshino/Robert Harding, et al.; Book 4: Corbis Images.
Notes: 1st Prints are sometimes listed as 1st print, 1st editions on eBay -- don't overpay for a 1st print of this book.
Deluxe Edition, 1999
This edition, like the others that have followed the 1st Edition, is commonly found on eBay and other ecommerce sites as a 1st Edition of the Philosopher's Stone. Just know that it's not; it was introduced in 1999. The 1st prints are scarce as only 4869 1st prints were produced. As this edition became widely popular, the book has been in reprint since its introduction. 1st prints in Very Good - Fine condition can bring about $500 or a bit higher currently , as 1st prints are in high demand by collectors. 2nd prints sell around $100 or so and later prints can be found for much less.
The Celebration Editions were first published by Bloomsbury in 2001 only in softcover format. The books covers use a modified version of the 1st edition books' illustrations. All 7 books were published in this edition; unusually, this is one of the few, if only, Bloomsbury Potter editions that does not have a Box Set as well.
Notes: 1st Prints are sometimes confused with 1st print, 1st editions on eBay -- don't overpay for a 1st print of this book if that's what you're wanting. This Edition also looks very similar to the Canadian Magic Edition.
*Number of 1st Prints: Book 1: 400,200; Book 2: 700,200; Book 3: 200,080; Book 4: 115,000; Book 5: 47,660; Book 6: 14,040; Book 7: 36,200
*Taken from J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013
Signature Edition (Softcover)
Published in 2010, these editions bear beautiful art by Clare Melinksy. A handful of Potter translations, like the Italian and Brazilian have adopted this art for one of their editions as well.
Number of 1st Prints: Book 1: 63,586; Book 2: 63,102; Book 3: 63,312; Book 4: 65,040; Book 5: 63,435; Book 6: 64,252; Book 7: 65,200.
Jonny Duddle Editions
Published in 2014, these books feature the beautiful and magical art of Jonny Duddle. You can find the books in hard and soft covers as well as in box sets (Hard and Soft) with unique cover art. Sometimes, you'll see these listed for sale as "1st Edition!" but they're absolutely without a doubt not, so don't pay a high price. First prints are easily enough found as well, so again, don't go overpaying. These are lovely books, but not highly valuable.
Harry Potter box sets have fueled imaginations since the very first one was issued in 1998. illustrations offered on the books and the boxes not only created wonderful gateways into the series itself, but also helped expand the beautiful collection of art that surrounds this epic series. 20 years later, box sets are still coming, each more lovely than the last. Now we are on to the Jim Kay illustrated books, and I know when a complete box of those is available, I will buy it, despite having bought the 7 books individually.
Harry Potter Gift Set
The first ever Harry Potter Box Set was issued in 1998 and contained the very first 2 books. There are 2 variants of this set. 1) 4th Print Philosopher's Stone, 7th Print Chamber of Secrets 2) 5th Print Philosopher's Stone, 10th Print Chamber of Secrets, with the 2nd appearing to be harder to find. The set pictured below is the 2nd of the 2; I do have the 1st variant as well if you need any information from it. The box features the cover art of both book 1 and book 2. This set originally cost GBP 21.99 and now sells for $500 unsigned depending on condition and which variant it it, with the 2nd tending to sell a little higher.
Box Set ISBN: 0747543356
Signature Edition Box Set (Softcover)
The lovely Signature Edition books were published on November 10, 2010, and a box set was also made featuring these lovely books. The books in my set range from 8th to 10th prints; I'm not sure if that's common for all Signature Edition softcover box sets OR if box sets were just made from many different ranges of prints during the production of these lovely editions. The front and back covers of these books are phenomenal and definitely worth checking out. These box sets aren't super rare, and can be found for about $65 or so.
Box Set ISBN: 9781408812525
Harry Potter, the Complete Collection
This beautiful box set, illustrated by the lovely Jonny Duddle, has some of the most beautiful jackets and boards of all the Potter books, I think. Additionally, the box is quite sturdy and has a magnetic front closure. Australia has a set like this as well, but the box is is a dark blue instead of red.
The Magical Adventure Begins Set
This cool set was published in 2013 and only featured the first 3 books in softcover, with wonderful and unusual cover art. Interestingly, the colors of the individual books matches that of the Bloomsbury Deluxe books. The books were only available as a box set; 42,700 copies were produced. Illustrated by Joe McLaren.