At a Wednesday auction in New York City, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter chair sold for $394,000. Rowling sat in the 1930s chair while writing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The seller will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to Rowling's charity.
The April 6 auction was not the first time Rowling's writing chair hit the auction block. In 2002, the chair sold for $21,000 at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's "Chair-ish a Child" auction. It sold again in 2009 for $29,000. Bidding began at $65,000 on Wednesday; by 9:15 a.m., it had reached $150,000.
The fact that this chair has come up for auction every seven years makes me wonder if Rowling didn't write some kind of prophecy about it.
A typed letter from Rowling has accompanied the chair through these transactions. Addressed to "new-owner-of-my-chair," the letter relates how, after the author "was given four mismatched dining room chairs in 1995," the chair presented itself as a great, comfortable writing seat, and "ended up stationed permanently in front of [Rowling's] typewriter."
Someone just got a big return on their investment, which makes me want to reconsider my spending habits. Note to self: the money's in famous authors' furniture.