13. The Tombstone of Nicolas Flamel
Tombstone of Nicolas Flamel, Paris, 15th century, © Paris, Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge
The tombstone of Nicolas Flamel was J.K. Rowling’s favorite item from the British Library exhibit and it has made it’s way across the pond to the New York version. Harry Potter fans know Flamel as the character who created the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone), and he was actually a real person who lived in Medieval Paris. Flamel was a wealthy landowner and bookseller. When he died, rumors started to spread that he was an alchemist and that he had discovered the Philosopher’s Stone. Flamel designed his own tombstone and was buried in Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie in Paris. His body was never found when his grave was later exhumed, which fed into rumors that he had the Elixir of Life and never died in the first place. His tombstone was reportedly found being used as a cutting board by a Parisian grocer!