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.
Here's a cropped, zoomed in comparison between the same two books; now, you might can see better what I'm talking about -- check out the wizard's pocket -- the line on the bottom is all but invisible on the 1st print on the left; but on the right, BAM in your face.
Okay, so I went looking at other copies featuring this wizard that were for sale on eBay. And we are seeing the same problem -- the image on the right is just much more polished and cleaned up.
Zoomed in photo of the above image.
Zoomed in photo of above
Here we have a really nice conditioned 30th print. Easily, the lines on the book on the right are still sharper and much more visible. Let's zoom in!
While some details can get lost to time, creasing and wear affect how everything shows in the image, and laminate rubbing take their toll, certain things can't be rubbed or worn away -- namely the lines here. Yes, I know certain things fade away, the issue is is that the book on the right has had no time to fade -- it's brand new and looks like it was printed on newer technology.
Here, I took the image of the 30th print, sharpened it completely and added 100% definition to see if I could get the same level of sharpness as that of the book in question.
Only now do we start to see the same level of definition and sharpness that we see on the book in question. BUT, we still have problems.
Additionally, the "Wendy Cooling" bottom quote looks to be misaligned from my own first print and those of my friends'. I know production errors occur. I have a few books that are misprinted. But this misalignment of the quote doesn't look to be a misprint or a misalignment during printing; the quote looks to have been added to that particular area and is a part of the image itself..
Here, there are definite issues present with quote placement and font size. So even if you think I've got too much time on my hands comparing all the fine details on the back and front cover, you can at least, hopefully see, there is a definite issue here.
There are other issues that are present, but these mentioned look to be the most glaring. There's enough wrong here, that me and my collector friends have come to the conclusion that this is an entirely fake book -- as in someone printed up the wraps, text block, bound them, and then are trying to sell it off as one of the highly coveted 5,150 first print softcover Bloomsbury books. And unless the book is removed from sale, someone will spend multiple thousands of dollars on an entirely fake book. Don't let it be you!
Again, this fake book on eBay points to the absolute fact that you must research, research, research and know what it is that you're buying. Otherwise, you could be taken for thousands. :(