Special Harry Potter Headmaster Books will be on sale

A chance encounter with a children’s author 23 years ago can spark an auctioneer’s spirit for a school-leaver librarian.

In 1999 Janette Tuckwell was working at Millfield Preparatory School in Glastonbury, England, when she received a call from Waterstones Wells bookshop in Somerset.

Janette, who lives near Bristol, said: “They told me there was a children’s author coming to the shop and I would like to arrange for the children to go with them. I said yes and, together with the English teacher, we took the Year 6 group of 10 and 11 year olds to the shop.

“The children’s writer was JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books! At that time, her books were popular but the Potter phenomenon had not yet spread worldwide. She excelled with students . I remember that I was very impressed by his dedication and the way he answered the children’s questions. If they asked something about the books he would talk about the character or the plot scroll to make sure that they read it. He was detailed and hard working.

“I took a photo of him with school children and he signed two books for me. They have been gathering dust on a bookshelf for over 20 years but, after reading an article about the demand for Potter books, I decided to contact Hansons Auctioneers.”

The news was good. Jim Spencer, Hansons book specialist, estimated Janette’s self-made books at £1,500-£2,000. It is the first edition, the 23rd paper of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and the first edition, the first paper of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They will be offered, along with an original photograph of the world-renowned author and Waterstones students at Hansons’ March 7 Harry Potter and Library Auction.

Jim said: “The market is full of fake Rowling autographs, it’s great to have such a good deal with these signed books. It’s great to think of those happy children going to meet JK Rowling in 1999. Yes highlight what makes Harry Potter so special – not many books have children queuing up to meet the author. The original photo is proof of the event, meaning collectors around the world can bid automatically. yes, but it’s also a heart-warming reminder of reading madness – before any movies were made.”

Janette, who has two grown-up children and worked as a school librarian at Millfield for 21 years, remembers the huge impact the Harry Potter books had on pupils in the late 1980s. 1990 and beyond. “Potter’s books were the gods of libraries. They got a lot of kids reading. They had to continue as they wanted to discuss the project with their friends. I read the first two Potter books and enjoyed them. Everyone was reading them.”

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