A BOOKS expert who is world renowned for finding Harry Potter first editions that sell for astronomical sums at auction is heading to Moreton in Marsh this month to offer free valuations.

Jim Spencer, books and works on paper specialist at Hansons Auctioneers, leads regular library auctions featuring books, manuscripts, maps, prints, ephemera and autographs and, such is his reputation, his sales attract the keenest collectors and important dealers from across the world.

His finds have won international news coverage and he’s regularly contacted by people from all over the world convinced they might own a Potter first edition.

To date, Jim has sourced and sold 14 hardback first editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – and two more have been consigned to his next library sale.

The books, published in 1997, were among only 500 published in the first Potter book print run before the famous story became a worldwide phenomenon.

Depending on condition, the books Jim has found have sold for prices ranging from £28,500 to more than £60,000.

But he has had many more important successes. For example, a rare copy of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, found at Hansons’ Staffordshire saleroom Bishton Hall, made £65,000.

And in 2021 Jim made the world headlines again when he discovered a globe dating back to circa 1560. Bought for £150 at an antiques fair, it went on to sell for £116,000.

Jim, associate director at Hansons, said: “I’ve made some great finds but I know there are lots more out there. The excitement of uncovering something extra special never diminishes. I can’t wait to see what the people of Gloucestershire have tucked away at home.”

Jim will be at Fosseway Garden Centre, Moreton-in-Marsh11am-3pm  on Tuesday, March 29, from 11am-3pm.