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J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter writing chair up for auction

The chair sat on by J.K Rowling whilst she wrote the first two books in the Harry Potter series is heading to auction in New York next month.
Rowling wrote the first two books whilst living as a single mother in a council flat in Edinburgh, using donated furniture including the wooden dining chair recovered with a red thistle pattern.

The chair is now valued as a rare item of literary memorabilia from one of the world’s biggest-selling authors, and will be offered by Heritage Auctions during their upcoming sale of rare books and manuscripts.

"For me, what’s important about the chair is that [Rowling] basically created a unique artwork that’s self-reflexive. It’s all about her creation,” James Gannon, director of rare books at Heritage Auctions, told The Guardian.

“There’s not that much in Harry Potter world that’s very valuable or very rare because the books were so big so quickly, so after the first couple of books, the first editions were quite large, and I think, by the end, they were printing like 8m or 10m copies of the first edition.”

Rowling originally donated the chair to a charity auction in 2002, having hand-painted it to feature lightning bolts, the name of Harry’s house Gryffindor, the motto "You may not / find me pretty ~ / but don’t judge / on what you see" and the signed message "I wrote / Harry Potter / while sitting / on this chair."

Also accompanying the chair is Rowling’s original typed-and-signed letter of provenance, which 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 last auctioned in 2009, when it realized a price of £19,555 (approx. $29,117), with some of the funds benefitting the charity organization Books Abroad.

It now comes back to auction with a conservative pre-sale estimate of $45,000, but experts believe it could sell for far more. “I’d be surprised if this didn’t sell for at least $75,000, and I think it easily could best $100,000 too,” said Gannon.

Bidding on the chair begins online on March 18, with the live auction taking place in New York on April 6.

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