A mother who lost her life to breast cancer 16 years ago has unwittingly left her daughters a gift valued at tens of thousands of pounds – and it’s stunned them.
The former Derbyshire primary school teacher, who was first diagnosed at the age of 36 and died aged only 44 in 2005, was always passionate about encouraging her four children to read – and filled the house with books.
Little did she know that a book she bought for them at a school fete in Leicestershire around 20 years ago could potentially net her daughters a windfall in 2021.
Her 31-year-old eldest daughter, who works for Staffordshire County Council and lives in Burton, Staffs, said: “The book, which has been gathering dust on a shelf for years, is a Harry Potter first edition. We were really shocked to find out it’s worth £20,000-£30,000.
“I couldn’t believe it when Hansons Auctioneers confirmed it was genuine and told me the estimate. It was like one of those moments on TV’s Antiques Road Show. When mum bought the book all those years ago, I would imagine for no more than £1, she would have had no idea it would end up being so valuable.”
The hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, one of only 500 in the first print run in 1997, is the ultimate Potter collector’s item. It’s due to be sold in Hansons’ Harry Potter Hogwarts Auction on May 5 and is the tenth book of its kind the auction house has uncovered in 18 months. They have sold for hammer prices ranging from £17,500 to £68,000, dependant on condition.
The seller said: “Mum has left us a fantastic gift thanks to her passion for books and her determination to encourage us to read. She loved books. There was always one by her bedside. I remember a study in our home being filled floor to ceiling with books.
“She made us look after them too. We always had to put them away. Consequently, it’s in pretty good condition even though we all read it. She was a teacher through and through and a wonderful mum.”
The family realised they might be sitting on something special shortly before Christmas. “The book was on a shelf at my dad’s house in South Derbyshire. Dad had seen a couple of news stories about Potter first editions selling for a lot of money and started Googling and printing off the information to show me.
“Our book seemed to have all the key first edition issue points. Most importantly, the number on the copyright page must read 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, and ours did. Dad gave me the book and said, ‘I think it’s time for you to have this, it might be valuable’.
“Mum was always buying things at fetes, fairs and car boot sales. She bought the book at a fete at Ravenstone County Primary School, near Coalville, in Leicestershire, we think just before it closed in 2003. They must have been having a clear out.
“It’s been on a book shelf ever since. No one will read it again and it’s gathering dust, so we decided it’s time to sell it to someone who will appreciate it. It’s a lovely legacy for mum. The money will be split between four sisters and will be much appreciated, especially by my youngest sister who is only 21.”
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “A mother’s love lasts forever and this unexpected gift for her daughters seems heaven sent. The sale of this book is a delightful way to remember a Derbyshire teacher who did everything she could to help her daughters and whose time was cut short far too soon. I’m looking forward to making some magical memories at auction.”
The Harry Potter book is due to be sold in Hansons’ Hogwarts Auction on May 5. To find out more or to arrange a free book valuation, email [email protected]
To find out more or to arrange a free book valuation, email: [email protected]