(Reuters) - A turquoise ring once belonging to British classics author Jane Austen sold at auction for 152,450 pounds ($236,557) this week, more than five times its pre-sale estimate, Sotheby’s said on Tuesday.
The gold ring, featuring an oval turquoise gemstone, generated a battle between eight bidders and was eventually bought by an anonymous private collector over the phone, the auction house said.
“Jane Austen’s simple and modest ring is a wonderfully intimate and evocative possession. The price achieved today and the huge level of interest it has generated, is a remarkable testament to the author’s enduring appeal and her place at the heart of our literary and cultural heritage,” Dr. Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s manuscripts specialist, said in a statement.
Austen is one of Britain’s most famous authors of the 19th century who captured the nuances of English gentry in novels such as “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility,” which have become classics in English literature.
Last year, the earliest surviving Austen manuscript, a hand-written draft of a book that was never published, sold for $1.6 million at a Sotheby’s auction.
Other items in the auctioneer’s English literature, history, children’s books and illustrations sale included early editions of works by William Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte and Geoffrey Chaucer, water colors by Beatrix Potter and letters from Jonathan Swift.
The auction generated more than 1.5 million pounds ($2.4 million), with many of the items selling above their pre-sale estimates, Sotheby’s said.
Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and M.D. Golan