“Demand has skyrocketed, from Chaucer to Harry Potter. Some of the best-known classics have also been made even more popular by television and film adaptations in recent years,” he said.
A copy of Jane Austen’s first edition Pride and Prejudice would reliably sell for £20,000-30,000 six years ago, he said, but a recent surge of period dramas on screen has inflated demand.
“We sold a copy of the same book for £70,000 in March. It shows how dramatically certain genres have increased in price and desirability,” Powell added.
The Wizarding World of Hogwarts has also long been a favorite with bidders, Mr Moss said.
“People who first read Harry Potter as kids are now earning and have some money behind them to buy a first edition or a particularly special version,” he added.
Enthusiasts will happily part with thousands of books to add iconic works to their collections. “But you don’t know how much people are going to bid until that happens – they keep their cards very close to their chests,” Moss said.
First editions, the first publication of a book, are highly sought after by collectors. Condition is also an important factor: the pristine the book, the higher the price.
Mr Powell said: ‘If a book’s dust jacket is in perfect condition, it will fetch a much higher price than if it is well laminated.
“The very fact that it is auctioned also increases its value. If you buy a book from a retailer, you pay a fixed price. But the bidding element in an auction can take over and who knows how much it will end up costing.