Wednesday 18 October 2017

Rowling begs fans not to buy stolen Potter story

A file picture from 2008 shows an auction house worker with the now-stolen manuscript
A file picture from 2008 shows an auction house worker with the now-stolen manuscript

Hannah Furness

A handwritten Harry Potter story, bought at a charity auction for £25,000 (€29,000), has been stolen in a burglary, raising fears that thieves will dispose of it without realising its worth.

The 800-word prequel, written on a postcard by JK Rowling to raise money for charity, was taken along with jewellery from a safe in a house in Birmingham, while its owner claims to have been away on a Bangkok business trip with Steven Seagal, the actor.

Ms Rowling herself has issued a plea to Harry Potter fans not to buy the work, which is the only handwritten copy in existence. Its owner, who bought the story at a 2008 auction in aid of English PEN, a writers' network, was in Bangkok when he received a phone call from his sister to say there had been a break-in.

Thieves stole three safes stored at the house, which contained jewellery and the ordinary-looking A5 postcard with the story by Ms Rowling.

The businessman, who asked to be known only by his first name of Hira, said he believed the "horrible" crime was opportunistic, fearing the people who stole it would just throw it away.

Sold for £25,000 at the time, the postcard is now thought to be worth up to £60,000 (€70,000).

Ms Rowling shared a police message about the theft with her 10 million Twitter followers, adding: "Please don't buy this if you're offered it."

The story is set three years before Harry Potter's birth. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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