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."
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