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. The price was $394,000. The sale was announced April 6.
 
An anonymous private collector made the winning bid. This is according to Heritage Auctions.
 
The chair is one of four mismatched chairs given to the then little-known writer for her apartment in Edinburgh, Scotland. She used the chair while writing "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."
 
The seller was Gerald Gray of Worsley, England. He 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. He is director of rare books at Heritage Auctions.
 
The chair was auctioned before. Rowling sold it herself to benefit a charity in 2002, where it fetched $21,000. Then it was sold 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. He 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 (34)
  • scottk-lam
    4/19/2016 - 02:20 p.m.

    Her back wasn't sad to see it go because its a hard wooden chair, now that I think about it... backs don't have eyes!

  • ryand-lam
    4/19/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    J.K Rowling back wasn't sorry to see the chair go because after many years of use the chair probably wasn't comfortable anymore and it hurt her back to sit on it. So her back is happy because the chair is no longer there to hurt it.

  • austinu-lam
    4/19/2016 - 02:27 p.m.

    I guess if I was a fanatic of Harry Potter i would have bought it. I am comparing this to my favorite basketball player and I would definitely buy some memorabilia from that person, even if it was expensive.

  • billiem-1-bar
    4/19/2016 - 08:10 p.m.

    J.K Rowling was not sorry to see the chair go because the chair wasn't what created harry potter. She just sat in that chair to write the books. I didn't think this article was interesting because i have no interest in harry potter.

  • katied-lew
    4/20/2016 - 09:19 a.m.

    It must've hurt her back from long hours of sitting in it writing!

  • chrisj-lew
    4/20/2016 - 11:45 a.m.

    I think it is cool that he is donating some of the money to the charity.

  • heavenl-lew
    4/20/2016 - 11:54 a.m.

    I would not by the chair, especially for that price. Also that chair isn't what inspired the writer to write 'Harry Potter'.

  • ianr2-lew
    4/20/2016 - 11:57 a.m.

    I like how Rowling wasn't afraid to get rid of the set of chairs. Even though she fell in love with them.

  • daviss-lew
    4/20/2016 - 12:05 p.m.

    Even though most of J.K. was sad to see the chair go, her back is definitely glad to see the chair sold to charity. But then again the chair was also her inspirational item that helped her write her books, so I can see why she was sad to see it go.

  • kaleba-lew
    4/20/2016 - 12:07 p.m.

    Her back was probably aching from sitting in that chair for so long and her back most likley wanted a softer chair.

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