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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - The book that started it all. There is a lot to know in regards to this edition when it comes to collecting these books. Here are some facts that may be helpful.

  1. There are a lot of elements that need to be considered in order to determine a first printing of this book. These elements, or points, are necessary to know in order to determine this "Holy Grail" book from another printing of Philosopher's Stone. Here are those points:

    • A hard cover first edition first printing does not have a jacket​

    • The back cover features a brown haired wizard and the phrase "Hogwarts school of Wizardry and Witchcraft" rather than "Witchcraft and Wizardry"

    • In the phrase beginning "Acclaim," the word "Philosopher's" is spelled incorrectly (Philospher's)

    • The number line on the copyright page reads 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    • The book is printed by Bloomsbury (not Ted Smart, which would indicate a book club edition)

    • There is a missing space between "Taylor" and "1997" on the copyright page

    • The quote "A terrific read and a stunning first novel" by Wendy Cooling is featured on the cover

    • Page 53 which mentions "Other Equipment," the phrase "1 wand" is mentioned twice.

  2. Only 500 books were printed for the hardcover first edition first printing while there were about 5000 printed for the paperback counterpart.

  3. The brown haired wizard is only featured on the first 17 printings of Philosopher's Stone. This wizard was depicted after the illustrator, Thomas Taylor's father. As of the 18th printing, Dumbledore is featured on the back and spine. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - The American counterpart to Philosopher's Stone. Here are some important facts when looking at how to determine a first edition first printing from other printings of this book.

  1. Key points to look for in determining a first printing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone:

    • What to look for on the jacket:​

      • The Harry Potter logo is a raised or embossed gold​

      • The spine top states "J.K. Rowling" 

      • $16.95 on front inside flap

      • "Harry Potter could assume the same near-legendary status as Roald Dahl's Charlie, of chocolate factory fame." - The Guardian, London quote is featured on the back

      • White ISBN featuring 51695 on the smaller barcode

    • What to look for on the book itself:

      • J.K. Rowling stated on the spine​ top

      • Boards (the physical book without the jacket) are purple with red cloth on the spine

      • Copyright page features the number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

  2. Later printings are easily identifiable just by looking at the jacket! Does the jacket have "Year 1" on the spine? Is the ISBN or bar code on the cover red? These are later printings! At the very least, the jackets are later states. However, for a more precise determination of the exact printing, take a look at the number line on the copyright page!

  3. Do not be fooled by BOOK CLUB EDITIONS. There are very easy ways to tell the difference between a BCE and a true first printing. 

    • A BCE will not have the embossed, gold, logo​

    • Different colored boards such as red, black, and black with maroon spine cloth are featured on book club editions

    • There is no price on the jacket

    • The paper quality is thinner, and when looking at the copyright page, the diamond patterning can be seen through the paper.

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