By Liana Jacob
MEET the ambitious fan who has rooms filled with his collection of rare Harry Potter books worth well over £100K.
Data manager and singer-songwriter, and Harry Potter lookalike Peter Kenneth (30), also known as The Potter Collector, from Chicago, Illinois, USA, began his obsession with the series when he received his first copy of Harry Potter from his grandmother in 1999. Since then he has become an expert in navigating the murky world of fake Harry Potter books.
From a young age, Peter was always a very shy child, but since he started collecting all things Harry Potter, he has enriched his world socially and it has challenged him to engage with other people.
In January 2016, he became the first collector in the world known to successfully collect every published translation, transliteration, and adaptation of the first Harry Potter book, with over 700 rare books in his collection.
“At the age of 14, my collection appetite was much larger than my budget, so I needed to find a clever way to fund my collection,” Peter said.
“Luckily, I was able to find a US Collector’s Edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for only $19.99 (£15.39), knowing that it could be re-sold for $200 (£154).
“My idea was successful and the profit allowed me to begin purchasing rare Harry Potter books. The idea for collecting translations occurred after I purchased an Italian translation.
“The artwork and language was fascinating and stirred my desire to collect other languages. After collecting a few translations, it seemed logical to collect them all.”
To successfully collect genuine books, Peter has had to turn into a book detective and has become an expert at spotting fake Potter books.
“Through the process of collecting Harry Potter books, I have grown in my passion for the subject matter, but I have also struggled with frustration as I encounter counterfeit books, signatures and dishonest sellers in my journey,” he said.
“Since I strive to keep an eye out for the big picture of the market, movement and materials, I have learned a great deal about the behaviours of those who would wish to dupe young and inexperienced collectors.
“It has become my mission to educate fans and collectors about these dangers and to help remove these items from the market.
“I have discovered methods of identifying fraudulent behaviour, such as finding the unique errors in the first printing of the Philosopher’s Stone.
“I can clearly identify the changes in the signatures of JK Rowling by specific time frames. I have used this skill to assist many collectors and sellers in making decisions about sales, purchases and returning counterfeit items to sellers.”
Despite there being a community of people who don’t like the franchise, they have shown a great deal of interest in Peter’s collection.
“Reactions are fun and interesting from both Harry Potter fans and non-fans. Both groups tend to ask a variety of questions about the books, such as; rarity, value and acquiring methods.
“Many people ask to see the language or country that is most interesting to them. “Do you have German?” “Do you have Hebrew?” Some cry, some laugh, some are quiet and some are afraid to touch the books.
“Non-fans often appreciate the collection because of the wide perspective that is represented geographically, culturally, socially and artistically.”
For more information visit: www.thepottercollector.com