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J.K. Rowling’s rickety chair is probably worth more than your house

Posted by
Bo Franklin
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This week the chair J. K. Rowling sat on while she wrote the first two Harry Potter novels went up for auction. It sold for $394,000. 

For anyone with no concept of numbers, that's a hell of a lot. It's about £280,000 in our money, more than the average U.K. house price. It would take most of us well over a decade to earn that much cash.

The dilapidated oak kitchen chair – which looks a bit like something you'd find in your Nan's dining room if your Nan was into defacing furniture with the names of fictional characters – is one of four given to Rowling in the 1990s. The lucky new owner, who remains anonymous, will at least get a letter of authenticity written by the Potter author to go with their new furniture. 

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 chair was sold by Gerald Gray, who bought it in 2009 for $29,000 after his daughter spotted it on eBay. Gray plans to donate 10% of the proceeds to Rowling's children's charity, Lumos. 

We would have probably banked the cash and gone to IKEA instead.

(Image: Heritage Auctions)