JK RowlingWe heard rumors that the collectibility of rare Harry Potter books would wane in 2008. With the Harry Potter series done and dusted, demand was expected, by some, to decrease. Then AbeBooks goes and sells a first edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for $12,874 – our third most expensive sale of the year. There were also sales of $6,958 and $5,213 (for signed deluxe editions, not even first editions). It’s fair to say demand remains steady in the online part of the business but auctions may be different.

JK Rowling is still head and shoulders above Stephenie Meyer in terms of collectibility even though Meyer was the queen of bookselling in 2008. The Tales of Beedle the Bard kept Rowling in the limelight and next up is the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie, to be released in July. The Edinburgh-based author might stress about the importance of her privacy but something major happens every six months to ensure her public profile never fades.

Anything signed by Rowling instantly has a four-figure value (in pounds and dollars) but surprisingly few signed JK books reach the rare book market. The Deathly Hallows was launched in 2007 with a book signing event at London’s Museum of Natural History and four similar appearances followed in North America. The vast majority of fans who attended those sold-out and over-subscribed events have retained their signed books as a very special personal treasure.

Three signed books from that evening at the Museum of Natural History are featured on our most expensive list of Harry Potter sales - $3,200, $3,600 and then $5,500. Many iconic award-winning literary novels will never fetch these kinds of prices.

First Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling

The question remains – what will she do next? Another series for children? An adult novel? Nothing at all?

AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Harry Potter Sales:

1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - $37,000
An unread first edition, first printing from the 500 original copies published before anyone knew JK Rowling’s name.

2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $12,874
Rare first edition signed by JK with the dust jacket also signed by illustrator Cliff Wright. The first issue has a misaligned block of text that was corrected in the subsequent printings.

3 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $6,958
First deluxe edition signed by Rowling at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August 2004

Signed First UK Edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - $5,500 
Signed UK first edition, first printing - signed by Rowling at the Natural History Museum in London on 21 July 2007 when the book was released. The book has a small hologram on the top right corner of the title page to verify its authenticity.

5 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - $5,213
First printing, first issue of the deluxe edition signed by the author

6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - $4,250
An unread UK first edition, first printing signed by the author at the Edinburgh midnight launch event
A First American  Edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Signed by Author JK Rowling
7 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $4,200
A first edition, first printing signed by the author

8 Collection of Harry Potter books (1-7) - $4,045
All seven books are American first editions.

9 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone - $4,000
A first American edition signed by the author at a reception in San Francisco.

10 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows $3,600
Another signed UK first edition, first printing from the Natural History Museum in London in July 2007.

11 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - $3,413
UK first edition, first printing signed by Rowling and illustrator Giles Greenfield.

12 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - $3,200
Another signed UK first edition, first printing from the Natural History Museum in London in July 2007.

13 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - $3,045
A 22nd printing but the book has the following inscription “To Alan with the scar on his forehead, Thanks for the good questions. J K Rowling”

14= Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - $3,000
Signed by JK Rowling – part of the VIP package for the ‘Harry, Carrie and Garp’ charity event in New York (Rowling, Stephen King & John Irving on stage together) in 2006.

14= Collection of Harry Potter books (1-5) - $3,000
A set of American first editions

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling