A rare copy of the first Harry Potter book has sold for £46,000 at auction after it was kept in a briefcase for safekeeping for more than 20 years.
The Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hardback edition was given to a Lancashire family who planned to keep it as an heirloom.
They decided to sell it after hearing about another book fetching £28,500.
The 1997 edition is the “Holy Grail” for collectors, a spokesman for the auction house said.
The book, published with two errors, was sold at Hansons Auctioneers with a guide price of £25,000 to £30,000.
But telephone bids sent the price spiralling and the auctioneer described it as “exquisite” and “a book like no other”.
He said “that’s magic”, as he put his hammer down on the winning bid.
The book sold for a hammer price of £46,000 but the buyer will pay a final figure of £57,040 to cover fees and VAT.
Associate director Jim Spencer, from the Stafford auctioneers, said first edition hardbacks of the novel were the “Holy Grail” for collectors because so few were printed.
“I couldn’t believe the condition of it – almost like the day it was made. I can’t imagine a better copy can be found,” he said.
Only 500 copies were published in the book’s first print run, with 300 of those sent to libraries.
The hardback was among 12 Harry Potter first editions for sale at the auction, including one signed by JK Rowling.