July 9, 2010

New Agatha Christie Mystery

A battered old trunk bought for ₤100 at an auction at Agatha Christie's former home revealed more than what was bargained for. Literally.

Christie enthusiast Jennifer Grant bid on a canvas trunk during a 2006 sale at Greenway House. Auctioneers Bearnes, Hampton and Littlewood presided over the auction in which Grant bid on the trunk. Unbeknownst to them, the trunk, marked with the initials CMM for Clara Margaret Miller who was Agatha Christie's mother, contained a locked stongbox without a key.

The strongbox was a talking point at dinner parties for the intervening years and Grant, obviously not as curious as one might think, finally opened the box in early 2010 and found treasure. In it she found a crocheted bag containing a hoard of gold sovereigns, a diamond ring and a buckle-shaped brooch.


Grant's research revealed that Christie's mother's jewelery did indeed consist of a "diamond buckle, diamond crescent, and diamond engagement ring."

Grant contacted the Antiques Road Show to help her with valuation and authentication  John Benjamin from the BBC's Antiques Road Show valued the coins at ₤5,500, the ring between ₤2,500 and ₤3,000 and the brooch at ₤5,500 to ₤7,000. But he said the items could be worth much more if these treasures were proved to be the Christie diamonds. My little grey cells don't have strain too much to come to the conclusion that these are Christie family jewels.

Photos Jeff Gilbert at telegraph.co.uk.

16 comments:

Liza said...

A Christie enthusiast who isn't curious. How curious!

I love the Margaret Atwood quote in your sidebar.

Bee said...

Several mysteries here . . . appropriate, considering the source.

First, why didn't the auctioneers notice/open the strongbox in this canvas trunk? And why did this woman wait four years to unlock what turned out to be treasure?

willow said...

Oh. WOW!!! Hidden treasures!

roz said...

Thanks for the posting. I was wondering where you were..
Interesting story!
I read all of Agatha Christie yrs ago. This is a satisfying final mystery.

parisapartment said...

How mysterious and fun! I love how objects can tell so many stories!

Margot Kinberg said...

This is really interesting! Thanks for posting this story!

Diane said...

I was hoping there was an unpublished manuscript! Now that would be a considerable fortune.

I read a lot of Christie who-dun-its when I was younger, they were fun.

artslice said...

How fabulous!! That lucky Jennifer Grant really found some hidden treasure. Incendently, I love the movie made several years ago about Agatha's short disappearance when she learned her husband was unfaithful. I can't remember the name of the film... but I want to say Dustin Hoffman was in it.

Giulia said...

Spooky, but sometimes it's more fun to wonder than to know. (Perhaps that is feverish thinking, though.)

To the person who mentioned the film...it's titled 'Agatha' with yes, Dustin, & Vanessa Redgrave as the lady herself.

Cheers.

Hels said...

Great story!

I wonder how much money Agatha had. Her first husband, Archie Christie, was a handsome bounder who ran off with a bimbo. Her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, was a wonderful man but probably didn't make a huge fortune. And Agatha herself had just her published works.

That jewellery might have come in very handy!

Ima Wizer said...

Love the mystery of it!

StimmeDesHerzens said...

Agatha Christie leaves behind another mystery to be solved! Nothing like hidden treasures to delight the mind...
greetings to the pup!
My daughter is off to UCSB (Santa Barbara) in the fall! watch out it happens fast!!!

liza said...

I love these treasure finding stories...I've always wished I could find my very own treasure. How exhilerating?

Laura in Paris said...

I love your findings!

columnist said...

Terrific story - and so fitting!

California Girl said...

I heard about this and thought it was so cool; just like something you wish to discover. I love the ring and brooch.