Would you pay $394,000 for the chair where Harry Potter was born? This undated file photo provided by Heritage Auctions shows details of the chair that J.K. Rowling sat on while writing the first two books of the Harry Potter series. (Joseph Schroeder/Heritage Auctions via AP, File/AP Photo/John Raoux)
Would you pay $394,000 for the chair where Harry Potter was born?
Lexile

The humble chair J.K. Rowling sat on while writing the first two books of the Harry Potter series has been auctioned in New York City for $394,000.
 
An anonymous private collector made the winning bid, Heritage Auctions said April 6.
 
The chair is one of four mismatched chairs given to the then little-known writer for her flat in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the one she used while writing "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."
 
The seller, Gerald Gray, of Worsley, England, said the winning bid far exceeded his expectations.
 
The unassuming 1930s-era oak chair with a replacement burlap seat decorated with a red thistle sat in front of Rowling's typewriter when she was "writing two of the most important books of the modern era," said James Gannon, director of rare books at Heritage Auctions.
 
The chair was auctioned before, once by Rowling herself to benefit a charity in 2002 where it fetched $21,000, and on eBay in 2009 where it brought $29,000.
 
"I plan to donate 10 percent to J.K. Rowling's charity, Lumos, because that's what she did in the first place," said Gray, a businessman who runs an automobile speed control equipment company in Manchester, England, and in Sarasota, Florida, called AutoKontrol.
 
He said he would like to see the new buyer display it somewhere where children could see it, perhaps in a museum or theme park.
 
He bought the chair in 2009 after his daughter, a Harry Potter fan, saw it on eBay.
 
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 colors and wrote, "I wrote/Harry Potter/while sitting/on this chair" on the seat.
 
The word "Gryffindor," the Hogwarts house of Harry, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, is spelled out on a cross stretcher.
 
The chair is accompanied by an original typed and signed letter that 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."
 
The first book was released in the United States in 1998 with the title "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
 
"The characters that Rowling created are the superheroes 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."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why wasn't J.K. Rowling’s back sorry to see the chair go?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (8)
  • drewe-lam
    4/19/2016 - 02:34 p.m.

    While the movies were great, I never read the books. Even if they are supposedly books of legend, $394,000 for a CHAIR?!?!?! I don't think I'd pay that much for anything that's not required for me to live. Plus, if Rowling's back wasn't sorry to see it go, that means it's not very comfortable!

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    4/20/2016 - 12:38 p.m.

    The chair wasn't comfortable and it is not like "Harry Potter" himself sat in the chair so I don't think I would ever spend that much money on a chair or do I understand why other people would. I think this is a waste of good money unless the money is going to help a charity like the first time the chair was sold.

  • carlv1-pay
    4/25/2016 - 08:14 a.m.

    I don't think someone should pay for a chair.This chair has been used.Also this chair does not provide any special features like seat heating and no special type of cushion. Anybody can get a chair and say harry Potter was born there.What is so special about harry potter.

  • carlv1-pay
    4/25/2016 - 08:16 a.m.

    I think its you decision.But in my opinion i would rather do something important with that money like give it away to charity.There nothing special about the stupid chair.What did harry potter do for us.

  • julianc-bag
    4/25/2016 - 10:05 p.m.

    I really dont like this kind of stuff. That is just too much for a chair! I would like to have something that Derek Jeter has used or sighed.

  • julianc-bag
    4/25/2016 - 10:08 p.m.

    J.K Rowling's back wasn't sorry yo see the chair go because when she sat on it the chair hurt her back

  • ravend-bag
    4/25/2016 - 11:42 p.m.

    I would like to have Michael Jacksons white sequin glove

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    7/26/2016 - 07:52 p.m.

    Nearly half a million dollars for a chair seems crazy, even if it was the furniture that J.K. Rowling relied on while writing some of her books. To answer the question presented in this article of whether I would pay $394,000 for the chair, no, I would not. Although I do not value money, I would rather see my earnings go towards a good cause, instead of spending money on any material item. One day I would love to be able to walk down the street and give people who seem to be having a rough time some financial help, even if I could use the money myself. While some people dream of having things like a big, fancy wedding or a new car, I dream of living a simple life and giving up the things I don't need, so that I can give to those who have less.

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