A ring which once belonged to Jane Austen and was previously unknown to scholars has surfaced at a Sotheby's auction.
The July 10 auction in London will be highlighted by the fresh to the market item, which has been passed down through the Austen family since their most famous relative passed away in 1817.
The ring will be accompanied by a letter from Eleanor Austen to her niece Caroline, written in 1863, which reads: "My dear Caroline. The enclosed Ring once belonged to your Aunt Jane. It was given to me by your Aunt Cassandra as soon as she knew that I was engaged to your Uncle. I bequeath it to you. God bless you!"
The gold ring is set with an odontalite stone, which became fashionable in Austen's time as a cheaper alternative to turquoise. The simple design and materials used to create the piece are reflective not only of the writer's income, but also of her own personal tastes in jewellery.
The ring will go to auction with an estimate of £20,000-30,000, though Paul Fraser Collectibles expects it to exceed this valuation due to its importance and rarity. The current world record for a Jane Austen item at auction was set in 2011, when a manuscript copy of her famous unfinished novel, The Watsons, sold for almost £1m, also at Sotheby's.
Paul Fraser Collectibles currently has a stunning range of literary collectibles on offer, including this autographed copy of Virginia Woolf's Orlando.