A few years ago, a collector friend I've known for quite a few years said he's not only heard of but knew of some one who had sold a Junior Library Guild edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets -a book that myself and every other Harry Potter book collector have never knowingly seen in the wild. And from those who read my post from April 25, 2018 about this top must know, my curiosity has been piqued ever since.
For those who don't know about the Junior Library Guild (JLG) Harry Potter books: of all of the Sorcerer's Stone Book Club Editions (BCEs), the JLG Sorcerer's Stone is the ONLY book Club worth quite a bit of money (despite what you read on eBay). It has the relatively rare Guardian Quote on the back of the jacket, J.K. Rowling on the jacket's spine AND has wonderful pictorial boards, which match the lovely illustrations of GrandPre. In fact, one sold a few months ago for about $1,000.00. Additionally, the JLG Sorcerer's Stone editions are so rare, I've only seen a handful of them show up in the 10+ years I've been actively searching for and collecting rare Potter books. Needless to say, it's quite an elusive book and one I've yet to own.
Back to the question of the JLG Chamber of Secrets -- why, if no one has knowingly seen one in the wild, do we still look for and question its existence? Because of this right here:
If you search Junior Library Guild website, you can find that at least one point, this book looks to have been distributed to members and sold out 20 years ago.
On the surface, the book looks to have certainly been produced. But, maybe the book was scheduled to be produced but was canceled by JLG for some random reason, not bothering to take this down -- making it then the only remnant that this book was almost a thing, and driving us collectors mad as a result? Tired of searching through scores of badly listed Chamber of Secrets books on eBay and elsewhere, I decided to finally reach out to JLG and see if they in fact produced this book or not. I emailed them, fully expecting not to hear back as I'm well aware that the question I'm asking is quite strange. BUT happily, I was wrong. I received this reply:
Other than having to change my name to Cathy, I felt a little excitement when I first read this. Maybe, maybe this JLG Chamber of Secrets was REAL, even if all of them are currently tucked away in the nether regions of someone's shelves. While Angie doesn't say any were shipped out, she also didn't say none were either. SO, maybe I've seen one and not known it, which is what I'm now thinking -- I doubt no one ordered the 2nd installment of a wildly successful series if it were available for sale. Maybe the JLG Chamber looks more like the standard BCE -- plain boards, and matte, flat jacket -- nothing really making it stand out? Although, there should be a sticker somewhere indicating it's a JLG product, maybe it's harder to find or in a different location than that of the Sorcerer's Stone? Who knows. OR maybe it's as wonderfully designed as the JLG Sorcerer's Stone, but is equally rare or rarer than its predecessor? Who knows, honestly. Until myself or another collector finds one AND notifies the Potter collectorship, the existence of the JLG Chamber of Secrets will probably always be a mystery.
If you know more about this topic, please, PLEASE send me an email through my website and tell me all you know and if you own it, pics would be fantastic as well :)
Thanks for reading, and Happy Collecting