It looks perhaps, like a chair you’d find left on a curb—armless, beat-up, scrawled all over with gold paint. But on April 6, 2016 someone will pay tens of thousands of dollars for it.
This humble chair, up for sale at New York’s Heritage Auctions, was the site of the literary alchemy that produced the first two Harry Potter books.
Heritage Auctions describes the chair as “a standard 1930s era oak chair with a replacement burlap seat decorated with a red thistle.” J.K. Rowling got four of them while living in public housing in Edinburgh, and chose this one to write on because it was “the comfiest,” she says in a signed letter that goes along with the chair.
Look close, and the writing around the seat says “I WROTE HARRY POTTER WHILE SITTING ON THIS CHAIR.” The back splats offer up a quote from the sorting hat (“You may not think I’m pretty, but don’t judge on what you see”), while the top of the backrest boasts Rowling’s signature. Other decorations include lightning bolts and the word “Gryffindor.”
According to the Associated Press, the chair has already sold twice before, at charity auctions in 2002 (for $21,000) and 2009 ($29,000). This time, the current pre-bid is $65,000. Sorted.