The former primary school teacher, who was first diagnosed at the age of 36 and died in 2005 aged 44, was always passionate about encouraging her four children to read.
But little did she know that a book she bought for them at a school fete in the Midlands around 20 years ago could potentially net her daughters a windfall in 2021.
Her 31-year-old eldest daughter, who works for Staffordshire County Council and lives in Burton, said: “The book, which has been gathering dust on a shelf for years, is a Harry Potter first edition. We were really shocked to find out it’s worth £20,000 to £30,000.
“I couldn’t believe it when Hansons Auctioneers confirmed it was genuine and told me the estimate. It was like one of those moments on TV’s Antiques Road Show. When Mum bought the book all those years ago, I would imagine for no more than £1, she would have had no idea it would end up being so valuable.”
The hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, one of only 500 in the first print run in 1997, is the ultimate Potter collector’s item. It is due to be sold in Hansons’ Harry Potter Hogwarts Auction at Bishton Hall in Staffordshire, on May 5.
It is Hansons’ first purely Potter sale, sparked by the success of both the discovery and sale of rare Potter books. The latest find is the tenth hardback first edition of Philosopher’s Stone the auction house has uncovered in 18 months. They have sold for hammer prices ranging from £17,500 to £68,000, dependant on condition.
The seller said: “Mum has left us a fantastic gift thanks to her passion for books and her determination to encourage us to read. She loved books. There was always one by her bedside. I remember a study in our home being filled floor to ceiling with books.
“She made us look after them too. We always had to put them away. Consequently, it’s in pretty good condition even though we all read it. She was a teacher through and through and a wonderful mum.”
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “A mother’s love lasts forever and this unexpected gift for her daughters seems heaven sent. The sale of this book is a delightful way to remember a mother who did everything she could to help her daughters and whose time was cut short far too soon.
"I’m looking forward to making some magical memories at auction in Staffordshire.”
To find out more or to arrange a free book valuation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.