Wizard find is magic for charity shop

ON THE eve of the long-awaited release of the latest Harry Potter blockbuster a charity shop has received a boost with the mystery donation of a signed first edition of the boy wizard's exploits.

ON THE eve of the long-awaited release of the latest Harry Potter blockbuster a charity shop has received a boost with the mystery donation of a signed first edition of the boy wizard's exploits.

Just days before Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban hits cinema screens, the Oxfam branch at Brentgovel Street, Bury St Edmunds has been given a valuable copy of the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second novel in the on going series.

The shop is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary in July and the donation is regarded by staff as an early present,

The book is not only a much sought after first edition, prized by collectors around the world, but bears a personal inscription from the author JK Rowling who has become one of the richest women in Britain.


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Oxfam could soon have a slight taste of her good fortune as a similar copy of the book made £3,200 at an auction in Edinburgh earlier this year, far exceeding a first edition of JRR Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, which fetched £1,600 at the same auction.

A first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first in the Harry Potter series, sold for £13,000 and attracted worldwide bids.

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Manageress Debbie Park said staff are now hoping to ride the crest of the wave of publicity surrounding the new film to achieve the highest price possible for the book.

She added: "It was incredibly exciting for the entire team when we received the book and our book specialist confirmed its rarity value, it's been a great boost to the whole staff.

"Everyone's buzzing about the donation and it lets you know that people do appreciate the work that Oxfam does."

The book is simply inscribed "To Charlie, JK Rowling", and it is hoped someone with a relative named Charlie will look upon the book as a chance to buy a special investement for a young Harry Potter fan.

No one at the shop has any idea of the identity of their mysterious benefactor. Mrs Park said: "While obviously they wish to keep their anonymity, we would like to take this opportunity to thank them very much for this donation."

Having consulted their own specialists, Oxfam staff are considering auctioning the book on the internet, and bids can be made directly to the shop. But the book is not being stored there and will not be sold over the counter.

Shop volunteer Jonathan Pink, said this was the latest in a series of generous donations and the shop has previously been given a private art collection, a number of rare books, and has a growing collection of designer clothing.

"We have some extremely generous patrons in Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding area and the quality of goods we are given is very high and we are really grateful for everything we receive."

The shop is now seeking a volunteer to assist with selling some of its more valuable items over the internet and anyone who is interested in helping out should contact the shop at 01638 760666.

The fifth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has broken all records with an initial print run of 6.8 million copies and an unprecedented second printing of 1.7 million.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has been lauded by critics as the best yet, albeit slightly darker in character than the previous two instalments.

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