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?
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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 (29)
  • tylerl-lew
    4/21/2016 - 01:04 p.m.

    It's so amazing how cool this chair has been around to so many people J.K Rowling's harry potter chair would be a wonderful thing to have.

  • alexanderc-6-bar
    4/21/2016 - 01:14 p.m.

    J.K. Rowling's back wasn't sorry to see the chair go because the chair probably made the author's back hurt after long periods of time. At the article's beginning, it is stated that, "She used the chair while writing 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' and 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'" (paragraph 3). Rowling wrote two books of the Harry Potter franchise sitting in that chair, typing for long hours at a time. J.K. Rowling's back was not sad to see her chair go because, after working at long intervals, it probably began to cause her back pains.

    I found this article interesting because I, as a Harry Potter fan, love learning more about J.K. Rowling, and I continually find it unfathomable that she was once an unknown writer, searching for ideas, typing away at a little typewriter whilst sitting on a burlap-covered chair.

  • josephd-6-bar
    4/21/2016 - 06:54 p.m.

    J.K. Rowling's back was not sad to see the chair go because it is just a chair that she could probably remake. However, I am surprised that she wasn't sad because she wrote two whole harry potter books in that chair. I chose this article because I loved the Harry Potter movies but not a fan of the books.

  • matthewp-6-bar
    4/21/2016 - 11:44 p.m.

    J.K. Rowling's back was not sorry to see the chair go. The reason for this is because the chair looks and is uncomfortable for her and her back. This is shown in the article by,"My nostalgic side is quite sad to see it go, but my back isn't. J. K. Rowling." My opinion about this article is that I think that is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on an uncomfortable chair.

  • carsonk-2-bar
    4/22/2016 - 10:12 a.m.

    J.K. Rowling's back would not have been sad to see the chair go because she created and Harry Potter and that was all that mattered. This article was interesting because of how crazy people can be to pay for a chair that expensive. This article surprised me because of how expensive they would sell a chair.

  • lillianh-obr
    4/22/2016 - 03:47 p.m.

    I think the reason J.K Rowling's back isn't sorrry to see the chair go is because it may have been the most comfortable chair out of the four she had got. It was still uncomfortable for her to sit in and it made her back hurt.

  • jacksonm-2-bar
    4/22/2016 - 04:49 p.m.

    J.K. Rowling's back would not have been sad to see the chair go because she created Harry Potter. This article was interesting because of how crazy people can be to pay for a chair that expensive.

    I though this article was interesting becuase I like Harry Potter.

  • seans-2-bar
    4/22/2016 - 09:03 p.m.

    What an absurd question. This may be the worst question I have seen on Tween Tribune, that saying a lot. I could see where the question is going, however I disagree with phrasing it as a personification. I assume that this question is meant to be answered with a remark such as, the chairs were of arguable texture and therefore might have been uncomfortable. Keep in mind that J.K. Rowling was extremely poor during this time period. So, please change this question and the numerous others like it.

  • samyah1-wes
    4/26/2016 - 02:48 p.m.

    I woldnt buy a chair $394,000.Its really crazy although she is just trying to help a charity. It's not so important any ways.

  • angelinat-3-bar
    4/26/2016 - 10:18 p.m.

    J.K Rowling's back wasn't sorry to see the chair go because she probably spent a lot of time writing, while sitting on the chair, and probably experienced many backaches. J.K. Rowling says, "...it ended up stationed permanently in front of my typewriter..." about her chair. This shows that she was sitting there quite often, and was probably not the most comfortable thing to sit in, for long periods of time. I was interested in this article because I read the Harry Potter books. I was surprised because I didn't think that chair would be on sale for $394,000.

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