October 8, 2014
Agatha Christie’s long-lost diamonds are up for sale
by Nick Davies
Long after her death, Agatha Christie continues to be a source of mystery and intrigue. Maria Puente writes for USA Today that a collection of Christie’s diamonds — long thought to have been lost to the ages — will be auctioned off by London auction house Bonhams today.
The jewelry was discovered mostly by accident: Christie fan Jennifer Grant visited the author’s home of Greenway for an estate sale in 2006, where she purchased a traveling trunk for about $170, only to discover a locked strongbox inside it once she got home. Unable to open it, Grant says she would occasionally move the box around and hear something rattling inside, perhaps imagining something sinister and murderous to befit the writing of its onetime owner.
She enjoyed having her own Christie mystery in her home, which kept her from investigating the contents of the strongbox all that vigorously at first. She told Bonhams, “I almost didn’t want to open it because then the mystery would be over.” But after a few years, when her house was being worked on, it occurred to Grant that she could crack open the box with a crowbar, and finally got a look inside.
In the strongbox were a diamond brooch and a three-stone diamond ring, as well as a small purse of gold coins. Being a true Christie aficionado, Grant immediately recognized the jewelry from the author’s description in her autobiography, in which she mentions inheriting them from her mother. Of the discovery, she says, “I knew exactly what I was looking at. They matched the description exactly. I was nearly hyperventilating!”
The ring and brooch are up for auction at Bonhams today, estimated to sell for $5,000-$8,500 and $10,000-$14,000, respectively. After spending less than $200 on the mystery trunk, Grant will get a portion of the proceeds from the sale, along with a pretty great story.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.