A first edition Harry Potter book is set to sell for around £30,000 at auction, despite signs of wear and tear.

The copy of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone is a first edition, first printing and one of only 500 of its kind.

The book is open to bids on the Forum Auctions website with a guide price of £20-30,000, having been left by a collector with instructions that it be offered at auction.

A first edition Harry Potter book is predicted to sell for thousands of pounds at auction
(Forum Auctions/PA)

“We’re expecting it to do well at that price,” Max Hasler, a modern first editions specialist at Forum Auctions, told the Press Association.

“It is an ex-library copy which does detract for obvious reasons. Some collectors are looking for a copy with no blemishes – these days those copies can make upwards of £60-70,000, so relative to that you could say this is a bargain.”

Mr Hasler said that six or seven years ago copies like this were going for around £6-8,000 – so what has driven the price up?

“It’s partly because people in their thirties who grew up reading it are now at the age where some of them have got a bit of excess cash and are looking for something to collect or invest in,” said Mr Hasler.

JK Rowling
First editions of JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel are much sought-after by collectors (Yui Mok/PA)

“Now we’re expecting it to do well at £20-30,000, and that’s unusual really in any collectable world, to see something increase at that rate.”

Hundreds of the small print run went to libraries, meaning they were handled regularly. This copy for example exhibits damage in the form of bumped corners, laminate peeling and clipped extremities.

By the standards of a handled book, however, it is “quite a nice copy” according to Mr Hasler, although he did confirm that the same copy in mint condition would go for a considerably larger sum.

“If it was an unsigned (mint) copy, I would probably estimate it at £60-80,000, and I’d hope for it to make the upper end of that,” he said.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone was first published in June 1997 in the UK, launching the seven-book series about the boy wizard and his friends at Hogwarts school which would sell millions of copies around the world, spawning eight blockbuster movies and making author JK Rowling a household name.