While books like Harry Potter and Winnie the Pooh are some of the nation’s best-loved books. For some readers, they are more precious after they were named as some of the most valuable books of all-time.
Speaking to The Independent, an antique book expert shared his list of the 20 most valuable books that could fetch up to £50,000.
Matthew Haley, director and head of books and manuscripts at auction house Bonhams, also shared his advice for buyers looking to invest in rare books.
According to Haley, a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone tops the list with an estimated value of £50,000. However, it is only worth a fortune if it is a hardback copy with the numbers 10 to 1 printed down the back of the title page, Mr Haley explained.
Haley further said that the second most valuable book on the list is a first edition of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, which can fetch up to £40,000 - but only if its in perfect condition and features a typo corrected by hand on the back.
The list also features works by Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie and Seamus Heaney.
According to Haley, first editions, or a full set of volumes, can command the highest prices, as well as those that were manufactured as a one-off.
For any book, its condition and completeness is paramount, and any damage such as missing title pages or spine, could dramatically decrease the value of the collectible.
The guidelines also advise to keep the dust jackets for the books – most 20th century books need to have their original dust-jacket to be of collectable value.
Here’s the complete list of the books as published by The Independent:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997), J.K. Rowling: £50,000. Must be a hardback copy with the numbers 10 to 1 printed down the back of the title page.
- The Hobbit (1937), J.R.R. Tolkien: £40,000. The first version of the dust-jacket has a typo corrected by hand on the back; in perfect condition.
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1901), Beatrix Potter: £35,000. Identifying a real first edition is difficult, and it has been reprinted in similar format for the last century.
- A Christmas Carol (1843), Charles Dickens: £15,000. The best-condition copies have made around this much.
- The four Winnie-the-Pooh books (1924-1928), A.A. Milne: Between £4,000 and 10,000.
- Eleven Poems (1965), Seamus Heaney: £3,500. This slim pamphlet published in Belfast makes around this much.
- Foundation trilogy (1951-1953), Isaac Asimov: £3,000+. Collectors will pay £3,000 or more for a good set of the three volumes.
- Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906), Arthur Rackham-illustrated: £2,500+. A fine copy of the limited edition of this famous book can make over £2,500.
- The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1921), Agatha Christie: £2,000
- Verve, 1950s art magazine: £1,500. Certain volumes of this 1950s art magazine can be worth £1,500 or more as they have original lithographs by Matisse and others.
- Television: Seeing by Wire or Wireless (1926), Alfred Dinsdale: £1,000. The first English book on television can reach £1,000 at auction.
- The Cat in the Hat (1957) Dr. Seuss: £1,000. With '200/200' and no mention of 'Beginner Books' on the dust-jacket.
- High Street (1938), Eric Ravilious and J.M. Richards: £1,000.
- A Clockwork Orange (1962), Anthony Burgess: £900
- Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (1916): £600-£800. With a reduced wartime print-run, and an obituary for W.G. Grace.
- The Ladies’ Flower-Garden (1840's), Jane W. Loudon: £500-800
- The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), Arthur Conan Doyle: £500+
- The Bible (1600 – 1630): £300. In English and depending on how much is missing will vary the price.
- The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book (1894-1895) Rudyard Kipling: £200-£4,000
- A History of British Birds, (various editions), F.O. Morris: £150. A set of six volumes is around this price.