A rare first-edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has been found on the shelves of Wimbledon Library. The book, which could potentially be of very high value, was discovered by Emily Saiban, 11.
Emily, who has read all the books and is a Gryffindor, learnt how to identify the tell-tale signs by watching a video on YouTube. She couldn’t believe her eyes when the book she had taken out ticked all the boxes:
- The publisher was listed as Bloomsbury
- The copyright was to ‘Joanne Rowling’ rather than ‘JK Rowling’, and it was dated 1997
- The print line was ’10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1’
- On page 53, in a list of school supplies that Harry receives from Hogwarts, ‘1 wand’ was accidentally printed twice
- A younger Dumbledore appeared on the back cover
The book is in remarkably good condition considering it has spent 22 years in circulation. The lack of wear and tear has been helped by the fact that the copy had been part of the Schools Library Service and hadn’t been available on the open shelves until transferred to Wimbledon Library in February this year. Since the transfer, it has been borrowed three times.
The sought after copy has now been taken out of circulation and is being kept safe in the offices of Merton Council. However, locals will not be denied the chance to read the first in JK Rowling’s iconic series as there are plenty of copies available across all of Merton’s libraries.
Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Commerce, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah, said: “I was spellbound when I first heard of this truly amazing find. Our thanks go to Emily who has shown us all that she has great detective skills and a passion for literature.
“Her story goes to show that you never know what you might find on our library shelves. Though there has been a worrying pattern of libraries closing across the country, Merton have bucked the trend. Not only have we kept all seven of our libraries opened, we’ve also upgraded all but one of them and extended their opening hours. Our excellent library services also includes the home visit library service – so if you cannot come to the library, we will bring the library to you! I’d encourage all our residents to make good use of these great resources.”
Notes to editor
- Information on upgrades to give Merton’s libraries new children’s sensory areas can be found here: https://news.merton.gov.uk/2019/05/28/mertons-libraries-to-get-even-better-with-funding-to-create-childrens-sensory-areas/