London–A fan of best-selling British crime writer Agatha Christie encountered a mystery of her own four years ago after buying a leather trunk at an auction that featured contents from the writer’s former home.
Inside the battered leather trunk, new owner Jennifer Grant found a locked strongbox without a key. After years of dinner party speculation, Grant finally broke the locks recently, discovering a forgotten haul of jewels worth thousands more than what she paid at auction, British publication The Daily Telegraph has reported.
According to the report, Grant picked up the trunk for 100 British pounds, about $150, at a sale of the contents of Greenway House, Christie’s former home in Devon, England. While having work done in her London home recently, Grant asked a builder to pry open the box with a crowbar. Inside: 35 gold sovereigns, 17 half-sovereigns, a diamond engagement ring set with three brilliant-cut diamonds, and a buckle-shaped diamond brooch, according to the report.
The BBC’s Antiques Roadshow contributor and jewelry specialist John Benjamin appraised the coins at 5,500 British pounds (about $8,325), the engagement ring at between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds (between about $3,784 and $4,541), and the brooch between 5,500 and 7,000 pounds (between about $8,325and $10,596).
Benjamin told the Telegraph that the items could be worth much more if evidence emerged of the story behind them, such as if it were determined that they belonged to the Christie family.
The report stated that in Christie’s autobiography, published in 1977, the writer described some of her mother’s jewelry, writing, “My mother’s valuable jewellery consisted of ‘my diamond buckle, my diamond crescent and my diamond engagement ring… They were all earmarked for the future on my mother’s demise.”
It is unknown whether Christie inherited the items and stored them in the trunk, or whether she kept the trunk–which bears the initials “C.M.M.,” those of her mother, Clara Margaret Miller–without ever realizing the jewelry was inside.
courtesy of National Jeweler