Harry Potter and the Magical Estate Sale


By Walter S. Coppage

This is the story of a quest to find the second Harry Potter book. I never read the Harry Potter books. I saw the movies. I would never have started reading them were it not for my wife.

“I wish I could go back and read them for the first time,” she said. “You have so much ahead of you.”

She said this a year ago. It wasn’t until this summer that I started reading Harry Potter. “The Sorcerer’s Stone” is great and I could see why everyone flipped out about these books. They’re funny and inventive and each character is so vivid. Did Rowling know the whole time where she wanted this to go and what these characters would become? Was that always in her head? What if the first one was never published and a worldwide success? Would the rest have followed just on pen and paper in her flat?

When I get ready to read at night, I’ll pick up the book and show it to Shannon and she’ll start humming the Harry Potter theme and I’ll make the book fly. When the song goes low I take it down, when it goes high I fly it with swirls. It’s a nightly Potter ritual now.

After “Sorcerer’s Stone”, the second book was next and it wasn’t due at the library until August 18th, might as well be a century’s wait. I thought I could borrow the book from someone. Everyone had read them. Someone was bound to have a copy. Every friend I contacted didn’t have them anymore or never owned them.

I went into my local bankrupt Hastings and couldn’t find any of the books. After asking an associate, I found the second book for 30% off. This paperback would have to tide me over until I could get the rest of the books at the library. The only problem was with the Harry Potter script coming out; those books were going to be in demand no matter what. I wasn’t going to worry about it. I had the third book from the library and it would take me a while to read that after the second one.

The next day, Shannon and I went to some garage sales and one estate sale. Usually there isn’t anything at these things. Some tools, a lot of dead technology and Rush Limbaugh books. I do like to look at what movies they are selling. I like to know what kind of movies they bought. Two garage sales. Nothing to see here. The estate sale had a lot of nice stuff but nothing we really needed. Shannon was in the other room talking to someone when I saw the bookshelf. There they were. Hardback Harry Potters. It was all of them well minus one. You had to keep them together. You couldn’t buy the ones you wanted.

Shannon was talking to some people and I kept creeping into the room trying to get her attention. After five minutes of that, I finally was able to show her.

“These look like first editions,” Shannon said.

“What do you think?” I asked.

“It’s a great deal. You should get them,” Shannon said.

I picked them up and carried them to the cash register.

“I’ve been looking for these books and no one had them,” I said.

“How much are they $50? I’ll give them to you for $40,” the cashier said.

What a deal. We cleared off room in our bookshelf to showcase our incomplete Harry Potter set.

“I think I have the one you’re missing somewhere,” Shannon said.

This tale isn’t all magic. Shannon didn’t have the missing one but that’s no matter. I have nearly all of them in their hardback glory. When I started reading the second one, it made a crack like it had never been read before. Wouldn’t it be something if those books were waiting all these years for me to read them?




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