JK Rowling was a poor single mum, living in a council flat in Endinburgh when she sat down to start a global phenomenon.
The government had helped furnish flat with with four mismatched chairs. The most comfortable one was 1930s oak chair with a replacement burlap seat decorated with a red thistle so she sat on it to write the first drafts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Like someone from the second book, the chairmaker’s initials are printed on the seat, hidden under removable cushion.
Rowling went on to paint the chair with gold and rose paints, writing along the seat apron: “I wrote Harry Potter while sitting on this chair” as well as adding a range of Hogwarts references, including the Sorting Hat’s comment that “You may not find me pretty ~ but don’t judge on what you see”.
The 50-year-old author first put the chair up for auction in 2002 with the proceeds going to charity.
It was resold in 2009, fetching £19,555 ($Au 39,000).
Yesterday, Rowling’s chair was up for sale again via US-based Heritage Auctions, fetching a staggering $US394,000 ($Au520,000), including buyer’s premium and taxes.
It comes with the framed “By Owl Post” letter Rowling wrote when the chair first went up for sale that says in part “My nostalgic side is quite sad to see it go, but my back isn’t”.
Here’s Noah Fleisher from Heritage Auctions telling you all about the Harry Potter chair: