Tregony man's narwhal tusk sold for £36,000
A man who found the name of a Harry Potter character engraved on a whale TUSK has received a letter from J K Rowling - claiming it was an "utterly extraordinary" coincidence.
The massive piece of ivory - which belonged to a narwhal, a horned whale that lives in the Arctic - was presented to a sailor called Cornelius Fudge in 1881.
More than a century later JK. Rowling gave the same name to the Minster for Magic in her Hogwarts novels.
The whale tusk was bought by John Jeffries, of Tregony, Cornwall, over 40 years ago - and has now sold for £36,000 at auction.
John wrote to Rowling to ask if she had seen the tusk and name before - and has now received a hand written reply
The Hogwarts author said the name is an "utterly extraordinary" coincidence - and she doesn't think she ever came across the name before choosing it.
She wote: "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."
A plaque at the bottom of the 2.5m tusk states that the original Mr Fudge was a sailor in the Navy.
It says: "Presented to Cornelius Fudge. Master At Arms. By his mess mates as a mark of respect and esteem on his leaving H.M.S London at Zanzibar to retire from the service. September 1881."
Mr Jeffries, 64, picked up the giant item from a private seller in the New Forest when he was 21 and has been collecting tusks ever since.
He thought nothing more of it until he came across the JK Rowling character of the same name years later and wrote to her.
He said he was going to sell it at auction and donate some of the proceeds to charity and she replied, "your offer on a donation to an M.S. charity is incredibly generous".
The father-of-two paid just a "couple of thousand pounds" but its starting price at auction on Wednesday was set at #20,000.
It eventually fetched nearly twice that sum Wednesday, selling to an overseas buyer thought to be an American maritime museum.
Mr Jeffries said: "JK Rowling's letter said how utterly extraordinary it was that I had such a tusk.
"She said she thought she made the name up - but she couldn't be absolutely certain.
"In a way it's quite nice that we're still in the dark about its ultimate origins. This way the tusk retains its mystery.
"Nawhals used to be seen as mythical creatures associated with unicorns, which ties in well with the Harry Potter magical theme."
Mr Jeffries said he donated three per cent of the hammer price to a multiple sclerosis charity because the cause is so important to JK Rowling, whose late mother Anne died from the illness at 45.
Her added: "I'm giving #900 of the money made from the tusk to her chosen charity.
"I feel that the books were part of the reason the tusk sold for so much, and that it was only fair some of the proceeds went to her charity."
Minister Cornelius Oswald Fudge was played by actor Robert Hardy in the Harry Potter films.
The character had complete control of the Ministry of Magic, the main governing body of the wizarding world.
He succeeded Millicent Bagnold as Minister for Magic and had the responsibility of meeting with the Muggle Prime Minister when necessary.
Narwhals are mid-sized whales, roughly double the length of a human.
Their distinctive tusk is an elongated tooth which can be used to break through ice or for protection.