20 valuable books you might have at home that could make you rich... very rich

An antique book expert shares his list of the 20 most valuable books that could fetch up to £50,000

The UK's best-loved children's books, by far, are Harry Potter, Peter Rabbit, and Winnie The Pooh. Some of you who own any of these just may have caught a break because some titles were named as the most valuable books of all time.

An antique book expert has shared his list of the 20 most valuable books that could bring you a small fortune.

Director of auction house Bonhams, Matthew Haley, also gives some sage advice for people who are looking to invest in rare books.

#20 A History of British Birds (various editions)

F.O. Morris - £150

A History of British Birds is a natural history book by Thomas Bewick, published in two volumes. Volume 1, "Land Birds", appeared in 1797 and Volume 2, "Water Birds", appeared in 1804. The book is admired mainly for the beauty and clarity of Bewick's wood engravings, which are widely considered his finest work, and among the finest in that medium.

#19 The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book (1894-1895)

Rudyard Kipling: £200-£4,000

The Jungle Book (1894) is a collection of stories by English author Rudyard Kipling. The stories are fables, using animals in an anthropomorphic manner to give moral lessons. A principal character is the boy or "man-cub" Mowgli, who is raised in the jungle by wolves. Other characters include Shere Khan the tiger, Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther, Kaa the python and Hathi the elephant. The Second Jungle Book (1895) is a sequel to The Jungle Book and it features five stories about Mowgli and three unrelated stories, all but one set in India. Kipling wrote the books while living in Vermont.

#18 The Bible (King James Edition) (1600 – 1630)


The Bible is on this list for very obvious reasons. Just make sure that it's one of those ancient-looking first editions to be able to sell it. The book has to be in English and depending on how much is missing, will vary in price.

#17 The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)

Arthur Conan Doyle: £500+

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of the crime novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialized in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country and tells the story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome, diabolical hound of supernatural origin.

#16 The Ladies’ Flower-Garden (the 1840s)

Jane W. Loudon: £500-800

Jane W. Loudon was an English author and early pioneer of science fiction. She also created the first popular gardening manuals, as opposed to specialist horticultural works, reframing the art of gardening as fit for young women.

#15 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (1916)


Wisden Cricketers' Almanack is a cricket reference book published annually in the United Kingdom. It is considered the world's most famous sports reference book. The description "bible of cricket" was first used in the 1930s by Alec Waugh in a review for the London Mercury. In October 2013, an all-time Test World XI was announced to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. The one you can sell should have a reduced wartime print-run, and an obituary for WG Grace.

#14 A Clockwork Orange (1962)

Anthony Burgess: £900

A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian novel by English writer Anthony Burgess, published in 1962. Set in a near future English society featuring a subculture of extreme youth violence, the teenage protagonist, Alex, narrates his violent exploits and his experiences with state authorities intent on reforming him. The book is partially written in a Russian-influenced argot called "Nadsat".

#13 High Street (1938)

Eric Ravilious and JM Richards: £1,000

First published in 1938, this classic book introduces the British high street, pairing the timeless illustrations of beloved artist Eric Ravilious with an engaging text by architectural historian JM Richards.

#12 The Cat in the Hat (1957)

Dr. Seuss: £1,000

The Cat in the Hat is a children's book written and illustrated by Theodor Geisel under the pen name Dr. Seuss and first published in 1957. The story centers on a tall anthropomorphic cat, who wears a red and white-striped hat and a red bow tie.

#11 Television: Seeing by Wire or Wireless (1926)

Alfred Dinsdale: £1,000

This is a vintage 1926 book on the emerging Television technology. The first English book on television can reach £1,000 at auction.

#10 Verve, art magazine (1950s)


Certain volumes of this 1950s art magazine can be worth £1,500 or more as they have original lithographs by Matisse and others.

#9 The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1921)

Agatha Christie: £2,000

The Mysterious Affair at Styles is a detective novel by Agatha Christie. It was written in the middle of the First World War, in 1916, and first published by John Lane in the United States in October 1920 and in the United Kingdom by The Bodley Head (John Lane's UK company) on 21 January 1921. The US edition retailed at $2.00 and the UK edition at seven shillings and sixpence (7/6).

#8 Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906)

Arthur Rackham-illustrated: £2,500+

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens is a novel by J. M. Barrie, illustrated by Arthur Rackham, and published by Hodder & Stoughton in late November or early December 1906; it is one of four major literary works by Barrie featuring the widely known literary character he created, Peter Pan.

#7 Foundation trilogy (1951-1953)

Isaac Asimov: £3,000+

The Foundation series is a science fiction book series written by American author Isaac Asimov. For nearly thirty years, the series was a trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation. It won the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. Asimov began adding to the series in 1981, with two sequels: Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, and two prequels: Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation.

#6 Eleven Poems (1965)

Seamus Heaney: £3,500

Seamus Justin Heaney was an Irish poet, playwright, and translator. He received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. His book, Eleven Poems is more like a slim pamphlet and it was published in Belfast, Ireland.

#5 The four Winnie-the-Pooh books (1924-1928)

A.A. Milne: Between £4,000 and 10,000

Winnie-the-Pooh, also called Pooh Bear, is a fictional anthropomorphic teddy bear created by English author A. A. Milne. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh (1926), and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne also included a poem about the bear in the children's verse book When We Were Very Young (1924) and much more in Now We Are Six (1927). All four volumes were illustrated by EH Shepard.

#4 A Christmas Carol (1843)

Charles Dickens: £15,000

A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens which was first published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843. The first edition was illustrated by John Leech. A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.

#3 The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1901)

Beatrix Potter: £35,000

The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a British children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor. He escapes and returns home to his mother, who puts him to bed after dosing him with camomile tea. The tale was written for five-year-old Noel Moore, son of Potter's former governess Annie Carter Moore, in 1893. Identifying a real first edition is difficult, and it has been reprinted in a similar format for the last century. 

#2 The Hobbit (1937)

JRR Tolkien: £40,000

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a children's fantasy novel by English author JRR Tolkien. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction. The book remains popular and is recognized as a classic in children's literature. The first version of the dust-jacket has a typo corrected by hand on the back and should be in perfect condition.

#1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)

JK Rowling: £50,000

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a fantasy novel written by British author JK Rowling. It is the first novel in the Harry Potter series and Rowling's debut novel, first published in 1997 by Bloomsbury. It was published in the United States as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by Scholastic Corporation in 1998. This book must be a hardback copy with the numbers 10 to 1 printed down the back of the title page. 

So if you have any of these books then maybe you should think about selling them? In the meantime, here's some advice Haley gave The Daily Mail on how to preserve rare books and also, how to spot one.

The condition and completeness are paramount for any book. Any damage (missing title pages or damage to the spine) could decrease the value of the book drastically. Guidelines also advise keeping the dust jackets for the books because most 20th century books need to have their original dust-jacket to be of value. 

"Searching your bookshelves for treasures can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, but in every auction, we have sellers who are stunned by how much their old books make. If you have an extremely old, rare or a book similar to the ones on this list, which is in good condition, you really could be looking at a small fortune."

Information on the books was taken from Wikipedia

Images for the book covers were taken from Wikipedia, Pinterest and Google Books

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