On Wednesday, in New York City, the chair British novelist and film producer J.K. Rowling sat on while writing the first two books of the Harry Potter series was put on a public sale for $394,000. Heritage Auctions stated that an unidentified private collector made the winning bid of the modest, 1930s-era oak chair.
The Heritage Auctions claimed the J.K. Rowling chair was sold for $517,812, taxes included. According to the Associated Press, the chair was auctioned before, once by Rowling herself in 2002, when it fetched $21,000, all of which went to a charity. It was also auctioned on eBay in 2009 where it brought $29,000. The bid was almost 14 times the price when it last auctioned in 2009.
According to Page Six, Gerald Gray of Worsley, England who acted as the chair’s seller, said that the winning offer far exceeded his expectations. Reportedly, Gray was the eBay buyer.
With such great turnout, the seller announced that proceeds will be given to the author’s charity. “I plan to donate 10 percent to J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos, for the reason, that’s what she did in the first place,” he said.
The 50-year-old screenwriter and author used the chair to write “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” which were published in 1997 and 1998. The chair is engraved with “Gryffindor.”
“I wrote Harry Potter in this chair,” the author said.
The chair was sold with an original typed and signed letter from the author, which was penned before the first auction.
“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,” the note reads.
“My nostalgic side is quite sad to let the chair go, but my back isn’t,” the note added.
The chair has a mundane history but it became so popular along with the author.
“It was given to her with a group of chairs and this was the most comfortable,” James Gannon, director of rare books at Heritage Auctions, told Reuters. “She says in her letter that she parked it in front of her typewriter and it stayed there.”
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