Attention Harry Potter superfans: the chair author J.K. Rowling sat in while writing the early “Harry Potter” stories goes under the hammer. Expected to fetch $45,000, the simple wooden chair will be offered by Heritage Auctions at its Rare Books Signature Auction on April 6 in New York City. This 1930s-era dining chair was given to Rowling in 1995 as part of a free set to furnish her council flat in Edinburgh. She choose the “comfiest” one of the four – the one with a red thistle decoration – as her writing chair while writing the first drafts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – the first two books of a seven part series that would become an international phenomenon. A few years after the publication of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the chair was donated to a small auction in 2002 called Chair-ish a Child in aid of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
However, it was something that according to Rowling herself would have been “purchased from a junk shop for a tenner.” Rather than selling it in its original form, Rowling used gold, rose, and green paints to transform the chair into a magical piece of literary memorabilia.
On the stiles and splats, in gold and rose colors: “You may not / find me pretty ~ / but don’t judge / on what you see.” Rowling signed the backrest in the gold and rose paints. Then along the apron of the seat: “I wrote / Harry Potter / while sitting / on this chair.” Lightning bolt embellishments evoke Harry’s famous forehead scar, and the word “Gryffindor” appears on the cross stretcher.
Rowling’s transformed chair raised £15,000 ($23,475) for charity and then disappeared for seven years. When this wicked piece of Potter memorabilia resurfaced in 2009, it was rather quietly for sale on eBay, where the top bidder (and current consignor) nabbed it for £19,555 ($29,117).
Accompanying the chair is the original Owl Post that Rowling typed and signed to the winner of the first auction.