As I have discussed previously, Book Club Editions (BCEs) are in most cases valueless for collectors of fine books, and are generally considered to be worth no more than the readability of the book by this group. However, there are a fair few BCEs that have some collectible value. In the case of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Junior Library Guild BCE is the one exception.
Why is this book club edition different from the others? For one, the Jacket has the coveted Guardian quote found on the back jacket ( this quote is found on first prints) rather than the ubiquitous Publisher’s Weekly quote found on later print jackets. This guardian quote is very rare and adds value immediately to the book. Furthermore, there is a consensus among Harry Potter collectors that probably no more than a few hundred of these books were ever produced, adding to the scarcity. Additionally, the boards mirror the jacket art, which makes this book exceptionally beautiful—some would say even more so than the trade books (the books bought at bookstores). So, not only is this book rare, it’s desired among collectors for the Guardian quote and the overall beauty, and because of these points, there is collectible value.
In the past ten years that I have been collecting Harry Potter, I have seen only 5 to 6 show up on eBay. The few that have popped up sell very quickly for about $300 to $400.
This Junior Library Guild BCE, however, is NOT worth more than the first print trade, even though there are fewer of these produced than the first print trade, which sells upwards of $1000 (condition depending), while this particular BCE sells for (in Near Fine/Fine condition) between $300-$400. It is important to remember that while this BCE is valuable and collectible, it is NOT a first print trade, which is THE gem for collectors; in the end, it’s all about the first print trade—you will see this time and time again if you collect and or work with books long enough.
Although I have addressed the issue of Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone BCEs and their general lack of collectible value in a previous post, I will briefly do so here. While the common BCEs do, in some instances, have similar points to the first print trade (missing 1 on the spine (in some instances) and a full number line) that’s about where the similarity ends. There are two different, common Sorcerer’s Stone BCEs, both of which have the Publisher’s Weekly quote (rather than the highly sought after Guardian quote found on the first print trades and the Junior Library Book Club Edition), have flat black or red boards, lesser paper quality, generally slightly smaller in size, and differently textured jackets without the RAISED gold lettering. These differences along with these books being fairly common (they came about ONLY after the US success of the book was decided by publishers) make them really valueless to a fine book collector, and one should not really spend more than $10 for one, despite what’s read on eBay.
Below are photos of this beautiful Junior Library Guild BCE book to further illustrate what I’m talking about and to help you, hopefully, snatch one up. ;)
*Special thanks to Jonathan Clark for the photos and information