Rare Harry Potter book survives fire and sells for £15,000

A rare edition of the first Harry Potter book, which survived a house fire, has sold for £15,000 at auction.

It was one of only 15 editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone published in 2012 to mark the 15th anniversary of the Potter phenomenon.

Won by Carina Haouchine when she was just 15, until recently it has been stored in her tenement flat in Glasgow.

Earlier this year a fire left the property uninhabitable but Carina is grateful the book survived.

Auctioneers Hansons said it was in pristine condition and signed by author JK Rowling.

Now it has sold at auction, surpassing its estimate of £8,000 - £12,000, Carina hopes to put the money towards her wedding.

Carina, 26, a documentary film-maker, won the book in a competition run by publisher Bloomsbury to find the UK's biggest Harry Potter fan.

She said she was thrilled with the result of the auction and "very grateful to my 15-year-old self".

"The book was kept hidden away in my childhood bedroom and then in the storage cupboard of my tenement flat in Glasgow," Carina said.

"The tenement experienced a tragic fire at the beginning of the year. Thankfully nobody was injured but it is now uninhabitable. I'm very grateful the book survived.

"The ground floor of the building and stairwell were badly damaged but my flat, which was on the second floor, wasn't affected - including the cupboard where the book was stored."

Carina used her school summer holidays to enter the competition with a watercolour portrait of the three main characters and a hand-carved wand.

Her entry letter stated: "I've grown up with Harry Potter. It was the first thing I was ever passionate about, and I always will be."

Carina said: "I grew up with my mum reading me the Harry Potter books and the release of the film series sparked my passion for film.

"I am now a filmmaker and I've no doubt that the Harry Potter world played a part in that.

"At the time of the competition, it was the passion of my little brothers that kept it alive in me. In recent years it has become less important to me but it still makes me nostalgic to look back on it."

"I decided to sell the book because I recently got engaged to my girlfriend so the money from the sale would be very helpful to put towards our wedding and future," she added.

Jim Spencer, head of Hansons Auctioneers' Library Auction, said it was technically the rarest edition of Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone as only 15 copies were produced and they were never offered for sale.

"In fact, until last year, the public had no idea what this book even looked like because there was no visual record of its existence online," he said.

"None of the competition winners had shared images, there was really only a brief record of the competition itself."

The first known copy of this special edition was sold for £8,000 last year.