A silver cigarette case which was gifted by Agatha Christie to the man who discovered her following her mysterious disappearance sold as part of Sotheby's English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations sale yesterday (July 10).
The murder-mystery writer had disappeared from her Berkshire home following the death of her parents, which was closely followed by the news that her husband, Archie Christie, was in love with another woman and was filing for a divorce.
She was discovered over 200 miles away in a Yorkshire, UK hotel 11 days later. Bob Leeming, a resident saxophone player at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel, managed to identify the writer from the reports of her disappearance which had reached national newspapers, and immediately called the police.
Christie had reportedly entered into a trance-like state for days, reeling from the wave of bad news. She claimed to have no knowledge of how she got to the hotel and, bizarrely, it was later discovered that she had checked in under "Miss Neele", the name of Archie Christie's golfing partner and new found lover.
After her disloyal husband collected her from the hotel, the soon-to-be-divorced couple presented Leeming with the silver cigarette case as a token of their thanks. Inscribed: "With our best wishes, Col. & Mrs Christie", the piece sold within estimate for £5,625 ($8,752).
Agatha Christie's beloved books and memorabilia have an enduring appeal with collectors at auction. In June, a first edition copy of her Poirot Investigates saw a 580% increase on estimate, selling for $34,000 against a £5,000 high valuation.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a vast range of literary memorabilia currently in stock. This limited edition autographed copy of Orlando by Virginia Woolf provides a great opportunity to own a rarely seen signed edition of one of the author's greatest works.