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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

My Precious!

Museum Successfully Buys Back Jane Austen’s Ring From Kelly Clarkson, Can Destroy Sauron Now


Well, no, Jane Austen did not carry the One Ring for much of her days, only relinquishing it in death after an unnaturally extended life. But Kelly Clarkson did buy it in auction, and the UK wasn’t too comfortable with that, so various folks and one anonymous donor have managed to raise the funds and buy it back. This makes the author’s old jewelry one of the national treasures of the United Kingdom.

Here’s the sequence of events: earlier this year, the singer paid £152,450 at auction to take possession of the ring, a gold band with a turquoise stone, outbidding the Jane Austen House Museum. Concerned about the rarity of documented surviving possessions of Jane Austen, Culture minister Ed Vaizey put a temporary export bar on the ring itself. If a buyer could come forward to match Clarkson’s winning bid by September 30th, and would keep the ring in England, Clarkson would be paid back and the item would go to the new buyer.

Austen’s ring isn’t the only item of interest to be deemed a British national treasure and temporarily halted in its export by a bar, including Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin’s Bentley Blower racing car, an archive of letters from General James Wolfe, material that documented the Gregory Expedition to Northern Australia. And things were looking dicey for a while for Austen fans, even after an anonymous donor awarded the Jane Austen House Museum £100,000 towards their campaign to purchase the ring. But last month it was announced that the Museum had successfully raised the funds, the money would change hands before the end of this month, and Austen’s ring would return to her family home.

Clarkson, who has been spotted wearing a replica of the ring in the meantime, was gracious: The ring is a beautiful national treasure and I am happy to know that so many Jane Austen fans will get to see it.” Don’t worry, Ms. Clarkson, I’m sure you’re better off without the corrupting power to create timeless novels that ensnare the minds of men and women alike. That’s what all rings do right? Confer magical powers?

(via The Guardian.)

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  • Anonymous

    I’m going for the obvious: Precious!

  • Anonymous

    Wow. If I had that much money, I definitely would spend it on outbidding museums on various memorabilia. Just to teach them who the real celebs are.

  • Laura Truxillo

    I think this was a freaking dick move on England’s part. “Oh no, some of our priceless culture might leave the country because someone legally bought it!”

    Hey, how *are* those Elgin Marbles doin’ over there, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey?

  • Anonymous

    Not really comparable. While it is true Elgin may have removed the frieze from the Parthenon without permission, the Ottoman government (rulers of Greece for four centuries at the time of the removals) graciously and explicitly allowed it’s export to back to Britain. Whereas in this case export was disallowed. It is also an object that is known to have belonged to Jane Austen whereas ownership of the Elgin Marbles is much more problematic.

    Point is regardless of whether you think the Elgin Marbles should be in Britain, it is a radically different situation.

  • Laura Truxillo

    It still seems really petty. It’s a ring. Not even significant, except in its previous ownership, whereas the Elgin Marbles have way more cultural importance. And the ownership of the ring may be more clear, but that just makes it sillier, almost–it was being sold by a party with a legit claim on it.

    I guess it’s not even just that it happened, but the general attitude of “Yay!” that I saw back when they first put the stop on it.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t disagree. There have been far more culturally significant works that have left the country because funds couldn’t be raised and whatnot. There is a nasty element of nationalism to this a sort of ‘huzzah, we stopped Johnny Foreigner getting their dirty hands on our stuff!’ jingoism which is incredibly distasteful.

  • Cy

    In a silent auction you never know who you are bidding against. This happens a lot in the collector car market. Museums want to get their hands on rare automobiles but more often than not it will end up in private hands. Sometimes the winning bidder ends up donating or loaning the car to a museum. Clarkson should have donated the ring to the museum. It would have been great PR.

  • Cad Wallader

    Makes me want to start driving up bids on national treasures, knowing all it will do is deprive some nationalistic millionaire of funds they might otherwise pour into politics. I GOT MY EYE ON YOU, WINSTON CHURCHILL’S CRICKET BAT.

  • Delphi Psmith

    Me too!

  • Anonymous

    Well she didn’t do too badly in this situation either, at least in my estimation. She’s been very gracious and not at all whiney about the whole experience. I don’t know if they laid out the rules to the bidders ahead of time, but I would be extremely disappointed, to say the least, if I’d been in her shoes. This is a woman who ADORES Jane Austin (My stepmother’s a big fan of KC, that’s how I know).