Kelly Clarkson bought a beautiful ring at a London auction where she paid more than five times the reserve price of £30,000 (about $48,000). But, this was no ordinary ring. Clarkson, who is a fan of the 19th-century author, Jane Austen, has now been forced to sell a $250,000 gold and turquoise ring once owned by English novelist after a museum raised enough cash to keep the item in the U.K. according to NBC.
The U.K. government imposed a temporary export ban in August, which can be imposed on items considered to be “national treasures.” Culture Minister Ed Vaizey was one of those responsible for imposing the export ban in August. “The export licensing system provides us with a last chance to save treasures like these for the nation so they can be enjoyed by all of us,” the Conservative lawmaker said in a statement. “It’s clear from the number of people who gave generously to the campaign just how admired Jane Austen remains to this day.”
Apparently, The ring had been in Austen’s family for 200 years and lawmakers hoped enough money could be raised to buy it back from Clarkson and put it on public display. Then, on Monday, Jane Austen’s House Museum in the U.K. announced it had raised the £157,740 (about $250,000) needed to match Clarkson’s bid and keep the ring at home.
The fundraising succeeded easily within its September 30 deadline and was given an unexpected boost with an anonymous £100,000 donation. Contributions came from all over the world, including the U.S. Mary Guyatt, curator of Jane Austen’s House Museum, said: “The museum has been stunned by the generosity and light-footedness of all those who have supported our campaign to meet the costs of acquiring Jane Austen’s ring for our permanent collection.”
Of course, the 31-year-old singer was gracious on hearing her purchase had been hijacked.Clarkson agreed to re-sell the ring and it will now be kept at the museum, where Austen lived the last eight years of her life until her death in 1817. “The ring is a beautiful national treasure and I am happy to know that so many Jane Austen fans will get to see it at Jane Austen’s House Museum,” she said in a statement.
Museum assistant Isabel Snowden expressed sympathy toward Clarkson, but pointed out the temporary export ban is not a new thing. “We do feel sorry for her because she paid for it in good faith,” Snowden told NBC News on Tuesday. “But perhaps someone should have explained to her what could happen? The export ban has been around for about 60 years and applies to items such as this one which are bought for over a certain amount.It is very unfortunate for Kelly but she has been incredibly gracious. She is happy for the ring to be in the museum and we hope she comes and visits – we would be delighted to have her.”
Jane Austen lived from 1775 until 1817, and died aged 41 in the house where the museum is now.
Works such as “Pride and Prejudice,” “Emma,” and “Sense and Sensibility” have made her one of the most widely read and best loved writers in history.
In June, the Bank of England announced that from 2017 Austen’s face will succeed that of Charles Darwin on the country’s £10 note.
Image via wikipedia