The 800-word story, penned by the author over two sides of an A5 postcard, was a prequel to the bestselling series of books. It was auctioned off nine years ago to raise money for the English PEN, a global literary network that works to “defend and promote freedom of expression, and to remove barriers to literature.” As Rowling explained in a tweet, the anonymous owner “supported writers’ freedoms” by bidding for the manuscript. The story sold for £25,000 at the auction house Sotheby’s, according to the Birmingham Mail.
The thief also stole jewellery from the property, in the British city of Birmingham, which was broken into sometime between April 13 and 24. Officers are asking supporters of Rowling’s work to share the appeal in the hope that it “goes far and wide among Harry Potter fans throughout the world,” a West Midlands Police statement said.
“The only people who will buy this unique piece are true Harry Potter fans. We are appealing to anyone who sees, or is offered this item for sale to contact police,” Investigating Officer PC Paul Jauncey added.
Prior to the 2008 Sotheby’s auction, CNN reported that the postcard was signed “JK Rowling 2008” along with the message: “From the prequel I am not working on — but that was fun!” The story features the schoolboy wizard’s father, James Potter, and godfather Sirius Black when they were teenagers, according to the Press Association.