Two men broke into a shop in England last week and stole a first edition Harry Potter book worth $55,000, along with other valuable books, authorities said.
The rare copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”—known in the U.S. under the title “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”—was taken from second-hand bookstore SN Books in Thetford, Norfolk sometime between Jan. 8 and 9, the BBC reported. The book was kept in a custom red box, which was also stolen.
The book’s first run in 1997 had only 500 copies printed—with 300 sent to libraries—and is considered a prize among collectors, online bookseller AbeBooks wrote on its website.
A notable feature of the first edition is that author J.K. Rowling used her full first name, Joanne, on the title page, according to the site.
Norfolk Police told the BBC that these books are "not the sort of thing you see every day."
The other stolen books included a first impression of “The Great Gatsby” in a custom case and two first editions of “The Gunslinger” by Stephen King, worth almost $3,000 each; a first edition of “The Hobbit” worth about $9,500; four first editions of “Winne the Pooh” worth about $7,000; a copy Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” with a thumbprint signature, among others.
Norfolk police warned that used and specialty book dealers should be cautious in case they are offered for sale.
Rowling’s books have netted high prices in recent years.
Two first editions of “Philosopher’s Stone” combined to sell for almost $14,000, while an illustrated copy of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” sold for half a million dollars, according to The Telegraph.