The chair J.K. Rowling sat on while writing the first two books of the Harry Potter series is going on the auction block in New York City on April 6 with an opening bid of US$45,000.
It’s an ordinary-looking chair but magical in that Rowling wrote Harry Potter while sitting on it.
It was one of four odd chairs given to the then poor author for her flat in Edinburgh, Scotland, and which she used while writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
The chair was auctioned before – once by Rowling herself to benefit a charity in 2002 where it fetched US$21,000, and on eBay in 2009 where it brought US$29,000.
Before Rowling donated the chair to the “Chair-rish a Child” auction in support of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in 2002, she painted the words “You may not/find me pretty/but don’t judge/on what you see” on the stiles and splats. She also signed the backrest in gold and rose colours and wrote “I wrote/Harry Potter/while sitting/on this chair” on the seat.
The word “Gryffindor,” the Hogwarts house of Harry, Hermione and Ron, is spelled out on a cross stretcher.
The chair is accompanied by an original typed and signed letter Rowling wrote prior to the first auction.
It reads: “Dear new-owner-of-my-chair. I was given four mismatched dining room chairs in 1995 and this was the comfiest one, which is why it ended up stationed permanently in front of my typewriter, supporting me while I typed out Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. My nostalgic side is quite sad to see it go, but my back isn’t. J. K. Rowling.”
Heritage said the current seller was an English collector who wished to remain anonymous.
“The characters that Rowling created are the super heroes of the millennials as Batman and Superman were for the Sixties,” said Rick Rounick, owner of the Soho Contemporary Art gallery, which specializes in pop culture. “The chair that Rowling claims gave her the magic to create the world of Harry Potter is a singularly significant object of her art and creative energy.”
Muggles can get a look at the Harry Potter memorabilia in the window of Heritage’s Park Avenue gallery from Friday. There will be no Sorting Hat to magically determine who’ll wind up with the chair but potential buyers can bid online beginning March 18. The live auction is April 6.