A rediscovered gold ring that once belonged to Jane Austen has sold with impressive results at this afternoon's (July 10) Sotheby's English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations auction in London.
The ring had been passed down through the generations of Austen's family since the author passed away in 1817, and had gone completed unnoticed by scholars of her work until now. The sale garnered much attention from collectors and this was reflected in the huge sum achieved at today's sale.
It sold for an impressive £152,450 ($236,246), against a pre-sale valuation of just £20,000-30,000. The price represents a 408.1% increase on estimate for the ring, and highlights the value of fresh to the market items such as this one.
"It is the kind of object that you can imagine Jane Austen wearing; it is elegant and stylish, but plain and was not terribly expensive," commented Sotheby's Gabriel Heaton. "To have the opportunity to acquire something that is so intimately connected to the great writer is a rare opportunity indeed."
Despite the estimate-smashing price realised in the auction, the ring did not come close to the record $1.6m achieved by Austen's earliest manuscript, which sold at Sotheby's in July 2011. First editions of her work also attract strong results - an inscribed copy of Emma sold for £180,000 at Bonhams in 2008.
For book lovers, we have this fantastic limited edition signed copy of Orlando by Virginia Woolf. We also have a superb autographed extract from William Golding's Lord of the Flies - one of the nation's best-loved books.