Harry Potter and the Problematic Philosopher's Stone
Hey guys! as many of you who follow me know how much I talk about forgeries and fraud in the Potter marketplace. The demand for certain things is just so high that some terrible people get creative and end up scamming someone in a community I'm quite protective of. Unfortunately, fraud is rampant in higher-end Potter book collecting. Whether it's Rowling, cast of GrandPre forgeries, misrepresented rebound books (i.e. Frankenbooks), refurbished books sold as fine or near fine without disclosing the refurbishing -- fraud happens. And it happens a lot! But every so often something like this book pops up and it makes my skin crawl to a greater degree than the others -- that says a LOT. The book in question looks to be completely fake -- fake cover and text block. This book looks to be all new. And that's a problem. And now it's being sold as one of the original 5150 softcover Philosopher's Stone published by Bloomsbury 23 years ago. And this is an even bigger problem.
The book in question first showed, or at least was brought to my attention, late October 2020. From talking with others, people were submitting offers on the book, and at least one buyer backed out. Shortly after it was taken down off eBay and then didn't sell, it was re-listed as an auction on eBay (303750632031).
When myself and other collector friends saw the book in question, we were concerned. It looked "off" and we couldn't put our finger on it at first. So we raced to our copies to investigate. We found that the book in question looks to have a cover that has a much sharper image than those first and early prints. And indeed when shown in the comparative photos (below), there is a difference. The coloring of the wraps looks different. I know lighting plays a part as does equipment as far as image quality. So I made comparative photos between early and first print books taken from eBay alongside this one to show that the book in question still is problematic.
While the lighting on the book on the left is bad and quite yellow, you can already see a difference between the small details.
Here's a comparison between a different 1st print, this time the book on the left has better lighting. The image on the right is still sharper and certain details stick out much more so than on the book on the left, as if the image on the right has been cleaned up if not printed on better equipment.