Book lovers should dust down shelves and check their attics during lockdown in case they have a rare edition of a book, potentially worth thousands of pounds.
Seven books, that have been sold for very high prices, have been revealed by personal finance experts, in case households unwittingly own similar copies.
The first edition of the first book in the Harry Potter series - Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - has been known to fetch up to £30,000 at auction, but only a few thousand copies were printed.
And even first editions of rom-com favourite Bridget Jones’s Diary could be worth as much as £500 if they are signed by the author.
A spokesperson for The Money Pig, who researched the valuable tomes, said: “Bookworms will likely have hundreds of books in their collection, and this means the chance of owning a valuable copy is even higher.
“Other households might have piles of books that have been left discarded in the attic, so it’s worth checking that you’re not sitting on what could be a pretty significant cash cow.
“First editions of many books - both modern and classic - will almost always be worth more than later editions, and if they’re signed by the author, it could increase their value substantially.”
Among the prized possessions are the following ...
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
The first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the only book in the series that credits ‘Joanne Rowling’ rather than JK Rowling as its author, and has a print line number that reads ‘10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1.’
First editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone can fetch up to around £30,000 at auction, depending on its condition.
Hardbacks are worth more. There were 500 printed in 1997, 300 sent to schools and children’s libraries.
2. Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
Many people will have a copy of this best-selling 1996 novel sitting on their bookshelves.
A first edition of Bridget Jones’ Diary could be worth £150-£175, with a signed copy potentially selling for as much as £500.
3. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
The first edition of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, with the original dust jacket, is a rare book to track down.
A copy sold at a Bonham’s auction in New York on June 10, 2009, fetched a sum of $182,000.Other collectable editions are now sold between the £3,000-£4,000 mark.
4. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
London publishers George Allen & Unwin Ltd. printed only 1,500 copies of The Hobbit for its initial run, but the popular children’s book quickly sold out just three months after its release.
A first edition, with an inscription in Elvish written by the author, sold at auction in London for £137,000. Others have sold for as much as £60,000.
5. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
A good first edition of Irvine Welsh’s gritty 1993 novel can fetch anything between £500-£1,500.
6. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Hardcover first editions of George Orwell’s Animal Farm - which famously critiques the ideology of Stalin in the Soviet Union - are worth as much as £10,000 now.
7. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
If you own a pristine first edition of Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding’s classic, you could cash it in for up to £6,000.