A rare first edition of best-selling book HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN could fetch a staggering $36,000 (GBP20,000), online auction firm eBAY insists.

The sellers on eBay say they have kept the unread Jk Rowling novel in an airtight box since buying it in 2000 for $1,080 (GBP600) and are now selling it for money to invest in their business after watching its value soar over the past four years - the sale price has reached $2,160 (GBP1,200) so far, with three days of bidding to go.

The couple say the book can be proved to be an authentic first copy because the author's name on the reverse of the title page is printed as JOANNE ROWLING, although publishers BLOOMSBURY complain it's impossible to verify whether the book is genuine without seeing it.

25/08/2004 21:07