School librarian discovers forgotten Harry Potter books signed by JK Rowling worth thousands of pounds

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The books were signed during a visit by JK Rowling to a school

Two Harry Potter books that have been signed by JK Rowling and later forgotten on a shelf for 23 years may now be worth thousands, according to auctioneers. The books were signed after school librarian Janette Tuckwell met the author after she had talked to pupils in 1999.

Rowling signed the two first books in the series, The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets, after a question and answer session, and Tuckwell has since kept them in her bookshelf for the last 23 years until recently realising what their true worth might be. The books are now being sold by Hansons Auctioneers, where they are expected to fetch £1,500 to £2,000.

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Janette was working at Millfield Preparatory School in Glastonbury, Somerset when she received a call from staff at Waterstones in nearby Wells. She said: “They told me they had a children’s author coming to the shop and would I Iike to arrange for pupils to come along.

“I said yes and, together with an English teacher, took a Year 6 class of 10 and 11 years old to the store. The children’s author turned out to be JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books.

“At that time, her books were popular but the Potter phenomenon hadn’t gone global.”

She added: “She was brilliant with the pupils. I remember being very impressed by her dedication and the way she handled the children’s questions. If they asked something about the books she would refer to a character or plot line to make sure they had read it.

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“I took a photo of her with the pupils and she signed two books for me. They have been gathering dust on a bookshelf for more than 20 years but, after reading an article about how sought after Potter books are, I decided to contact Hansons Auctioneers.”

The first edition, 23rd issue, Philosopher’s Stone and first issue Chamber of Secrets will be sold at Hansons Auctioneers in March. A photo of the author and the pupils from 1999 will be sent along with the books, which are sold as a pair.

JK Rowling’s signature in the Potter booksJK Rowling’s signature in the Potter books
JK Rowling’s signature in the Potter books | Hansons / SWNS

Hansons’ books expert Jim Spencer said: "In a market completely flooded with fake Rowling signatures, it’s lovely to have such great provenance with these signed books. It’s nice to think of those excited children going to meet JK Rowling in 1999.

“The original photograph is proof of the event, which means collectors around the world can bid with confidence, but it’s also a heart-warming memento of a reading craze - before any of the films had been made.”

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