It’s getting hard to believe that J.K. Rowling isn’t a witch herself, given that everything she writes — and now apparently sits on — turns into gold. At an auction this week, the chair Rowling sat in to write most of the first two Harry Potter books sold for a whopping $396,000.
Not surprisingly, once Twitter got word of this incredible sale, they immediately ran the auction through the snark factory.
The chair is a four-legged, reddish-brown wood with a mustard-yellow seat cushion. It looks entirely average and unremarkable, sans the Harry Potter references and graphics Rowling graffiti’d on the chair when she initially donated it to a charity auction in 2002. “You may not find me pretty but don’t judge on what you see,” she enscribed in yellow capital letters on the back wooden posts. The words along the seat read, “I wrote / Harry Potter while sitting on this chair.” Gold lightning bolts adorn the chair’s front legs, and “Gryffindor” is written along a beam at the base of the chair. As with any art piece of merit, the historic chair is autographed by the British author.
At the 2002 auction, the chair was sold for $21,000. It was put up for a second auction in 2009, where it sold for $29,000 to Gerald Gray, the CEO of AutoKontrol USA. The chair’s newest owner has preferred to remain anonymous, though Gray told Heritage Auctions that he plans to donate 10% of his profit to Lumos, Rowling’s charity that helps provide support, housing and family care for children.
In a letter the 50-year-old novelist wrote to the chair’s new owner, she said, “My nostalgic side is quite sad to see it go but my back isn’t.” The author, who was living in poverty in Scotland at the time she penned the first two of the seven-volume fantasy series — Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets— has previously said she had four mismatched chairs, and she chose to write in this particular chair because it was the most comfortable option.
While comfort seems like a generous attribution to this chair, we can only imagine the plush evolution of the author’s seats as the series continued. If those chairs, or perhaps she grew to prefer ornate Recamier sofas, ever appear on the auction market, Rowling just might be able to feed and house all the world’s children. But until then, Twitter is left chuckling.