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    Harry Potter and the £40k lost library book: Bosses want to reclaim book that went missing years ago

    Harry Potter and the £40k lost library book: Bosses at British reading centre want to reclaim book that went missing two decades ago… before selling for a fortune at US auction

    • Portsmouth City Library bosses are investigating after the first edition book which disappeared 20 years ago has been found after it was sold at a US auction
    • Hard copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has library’s stamp inside 
    • Book went sold for $55,000 (£42,500), nearly three times its $20,000 estimate 

    It’s a mysterious tale about a rare book vanishing then magically reappearing – though it’s unlikely to be due to sorcery.

    A library is investigating after a Harry Potter first edition that disappeared from its collection almost two decades ago was auctioned in America for more than £40,000.

    Staff in Portsmouth are examining whether they can reclaim the hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, pictured, following the sale to a buyer in Tennessee.

    A first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which is thought to have belonged to Portsmouth City Library has been found at auction in the US after it was sold for £42,500

    The book was one of three original editions of JK Rowling’s debut purchased by the city’s library in 1997. Only 500 hardbacks were ever printed.

    In 2004, two were sold to raise extra money. It was then that staff discovered that the third was missing.

    Its whereabouts remained a mystery until it appeared at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, being sold by a Californian owner. A Portsmouth City Library stamp inside the book appears to be from August 1997.

    The book was the debut novel of children's author JK Rowling (pictured)

    The book was the debut novel of children’s author JK Rowling (pictured)

    It went on to sell for $55,000 (£42,500), nearly three times its $20,000 estimate.

    Portsmouth City Council library service says the book in question was not officially checked out.

    Eric Bradley, Heritage Auctions’ public relations director, told the BBC: ‘If the Portsmouth library was interested in getting it back… I think it would set a precedent, because I think it would be the first time a library took a serious case to reclaim a Harry Potter book.’

    The library service said: ‘Now we know the whereabouts of the book… we’re looking into our options and whether we might be able to reclaim the book.’ Last week another first edition of Philosopher’s Stone sold for £75,000 – more than double the asking price – at Hanson’s auctioneers in Stafford.

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