My Adventure into Buying a Harry Patter Book for Thousands of Dollars! Part 3

For those of you just joining us, check out my previous posts where I explain my limited history buying rare collectible books, and what makes 1st edition copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone so desirable. 

Part 1

Part 2

Assuming you’re up to speed, let’s dig into the book I bought. 

I purchased a “fine” example. In the parlance of collectible books, fine means it’s in super-good condition, almost like brand new. This is a guess, but I estimate there are only fifty examples in the world in this condition. 

Besides the price, a few things surprised me about the purchase experience. First, a primary concern was validating the seller. It amazed me how thoroughly I was able to do that. The Harry Potter collecting community is a tightknit group, and the seller was well known. For those of you who know who I bought from, I am not endorsing that guy. I thought he was quite difficult to deal with, and that’s being generous. Second, I wasn’t mentally prepared for the complexity of the transaction. I was in the middle of a work project, putting in long hours seven days a week. Combining that to a five-hour time difference with a seller in another country, then having to figure out customs and potential duties or taxes associated with importing a valuable book—What a headache! Finally, just getting the book to me was terribly expensive. Wire transfer fees. Shipping fees. Insurance. 

If you’ve considered making a similar purchase, whether it’s Harry Potter or some other book, you might be interested to know that the United States does not typically charge import taxes on books. For reference, the HTS/HTSUS heading you’ll need is 4901, and the code for paperbacks specifically is 4901.99.0075. (Do your own research!)

For the record, I don’t recommend making purchases like this. It’s risky. One thing I will say about it, however, it’s a heck of a lot more interesting than a mutual fund, and I’m a big proponent of doing interesting things.

But here’s a secret. In a way, owning things like this is anticlimactic. To the casual observer, while my copy is in excellent condition, it looks like something that would cost $1.25 at a secondhand store. The value is in the history not the presentation. A lot of collectibles are like that. Also, the stress of the initial purchase was not met by even greater elation upon arrival of the treasured book. I mean, owning it is not as intense as buying it, especially when I was so concerned about getting scammed. When my book arrived, what I experienced most was relief. 

So, the question remains, why did I buy this thing? 

Unromantically, it really was more of an investment than something I collected for personal reasons. Frankly, the book is way too expensive for that. When I want to check the personal-satisfaction box, I buy a cool movie poster for $20 not a novel for several thousand. Yet, I do enjoy occasionally retrieving the book from its safe place and admiring the moment-in-time captured in the pages. Harry Potter is special, and as a writer, it inspires me. 

With that in mind, it was important that I share this experience, so I hope you have enjoyed it! If you have any specific questions not covered here, feel free to message me. I’ll help however I can. 

One thing I didn’t mention was where the money came from. We sold a house, same situation that led to the Wolverine comic. 

We’ll find out together where values trend. As always, the future is uncertain. But fingers crossed, someday I’ll pass the book along to another brave soul and walk away from the endeavor with a hefty profit and an intriguing story about the time I owned a piece of literary treasure. To me, that would be a marvelous, magical outcome any Harry Potter fan should appreciate. 

If you’re enjoying this and want to delve deeper into the world of collecting all things Harry Potter, try joining the Harry Potter Book Collectors group on Facebook, check out, or listen to the Dialogue Alley podcast. Have you made risky boom or bust investments in collectibles? Let me know! And if you want to see where this blog goes, consider subscribing. I promise not to bombard your email. 

For the purpose of self-promotion, let me leave you with a quote from my novel, Into the Attic of the World

Dawn stood near, between me and the captain. She held her notebook in front of her, her thumb securing a blue Bic pen to the folder’s laminated cover. Her backpack was red, the same color as her dad’s Corvette. Was she a knight, also? Could girls even be knights? I didn’t think so, but what did I know about knights, or quests, or other worlds?

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