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article imageAgatha Christie Treasure Auctioned By Mistake

By Laura Trowbridge     Mar 6, 2010 in Business
The auction house that sold a trunk of Agatha Christie's in which a locked box of treasures was recently found is going to fight for its return.
Jennifer Grant bought the leather trunk in 2006 at a Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood auction. She paid £100 for the trunk, which also held a small locked box the auctioneer did not have a key to.
Grant said: "When I received it, I realised it contained a locked strongbox, but the auctioneer had no knowledge of a key. It was a talking point at dinner parties for years but I never thought there might be anything in it."
She never tried to open the locked box until recently when she asked the builder working on her house to force it open with a crow bar. Inside were 35 gold coins, a diamond engagement ring and a jewelled brooch, worth about £100,000.
"I was thrilled that I had something that touched Agatha Christie's life," Grant said.
She may not have these treasures for much longer though. Andrew Thomas, senior consultant at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood told Sky News Online that he will fight for the treasure's return.
"The question of good title has been raised and we are currently taking legal advice.
"What was offered in the auction sale was the leather chest, not the items of jewellery or coins later discovered.
"As these newly-found items were not described in the catalogue list, I believe we have a case."
Thomas said they won a similar case in 2007 when sketches were later found in a bureau that had been auctioned.
"Because the art was not listed at the time of sale, and there was no intention of selling it, we could reclaim the sketches."
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