Ken’s Korner: Harry Potter and the narwhal tusk
News & Views From the World of Antiques & Collectibles
By Ken Hall
A 130-year-old narwhal tusk engraved with the name of a character from the Harry Potter books has been sold at auction in England for a little more than $50,000 (reportedly to an American maritime museum). Collector John Jeffries, 64, an Englishman, bought the tusk at auction himself around 20 years ago (for about $3,000) but only recently noticed it was engraved with the name of Cornelius Fudge, a Navy man to whom it had been presented in 1881. That’s the name of the Minister of Magic in the Potter books.
Jeffries, astounded by this, wrote a letter to author JK Rowling, to tell her about his discovery. She wrote back: “How utterly extraordinary! No, I made up the name Cornelius – or thought I did. I had never come across it and did not know of the existence of a naval C.F. Thank you for a most interesting addition to the postbag. With very best wishes, JK Rowling.” Jeffries graciously donated 3 percent of the sale price of the tusk to a multiple sclerosis charity, knowing that Rowling’s mother had died of the disease at age 45.