J.K. Rowling's Chair Fetches Eye-Popping Amount at Auction

The author used the chair to write the first two Harry Potter books.

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By Nina Zipkin


Update, April 7, 2016

J.K. Rowling's chair sold for $394,000 at auction to an anonymous new owner.

Original story, published March 7, 2016, follows.

Is it possible to absorb creative genius through osmosis? If you're a Harry Potter fan with a decent amount of cash to burn, now might be a good time to find out.

The chair that J.K. Rowling used to write the first two Harry Potter books will be auctioned off in New York City next month by Heritage Auctions. The bidding opens on March 18 and the auction will take place on April 6.

Related: Harry Potter By the Numbers

James Gannon, the auction house's director of rare books, told The Guardian, "I'd be surprised if this didn't sell for at least $75,000, and I think it easily could best $100,000 too."

Rowling herself painted the chair, adding "I wrote Harry Potter while sitting on this chair," "Gryffindor," and some lightning bolts, à la her beloved protagonist's scar. She also included an inscription that wouldn't seem out of place at Hogwarts: "You may not find me pretty, but don't judge on what you see."

Related: 5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn About Team Building From Harry Potter

The winning bid gets the chair along with a brief letter (written on "Owl Post" stationary, naturally) from Rowling detailing the chair's history that reads thusly: "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."

The famous piece of furniture has been up for auction twice before. In 2002 it netted about $23,475 for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and then in 2009, it turned up on eBay and went for about $29,117. Amazon memorably purchased another Rowling original, a handwritten manuscript for The Tales of Beedle the Bard, for $4 million back in 2007.

Related: The Power of Harry Potter's Marketing Potion

The Harry Potter brand -- accounting for books, films, merchandise, theme parks and all manner of products -- was valued at $15 billion as of 2014. It's still going strong. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play penned by Rowling continuing the story, will open in London this summer. And the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in November will kick off a new trilogy of films in the Potter universe.
Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

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