Thanks to Brenda Martin for this story! I don't know about you, but if I bought a trunk from the Agatha Christie estate and found there was a strongbox bolted inside, I would have knocked it open immediately. I wouldn't have expected diamonds and gold coins, but I would have hoped for an unpublished manuscript.
A hidden treasure from the home of author Agatha Christie comes to light at the Bonhams, Knightsbridge Jewellery auction on October 8.
Amongst the trees that line the banks of the sparkling Dart estuary, stands Greenway, the handsome Devon home of Agatha Christie. Even after the murder-mystery writer has long departed, her house continues to reveal secrets of its own:
When a die-hard Agatha Christie fan, Jennifer Grant, took part in the 2006 house contents sale of the Greenway estate, she paid £100 for an old travelling trunk which had belonged to Agatha Christie’s mother. She had no idea that locked inside lay £10,000 worth of the Christie family jewels.
When the trunk arrived at her home, she found it contained a heavy strongbox which was locked shut and bolted to the base of the trunk, but no key was to be found. Years passed and the box remained sealed.
Mrs Grant said: "The strongbox made the trunk a great heavy thing, so it sat at the bottom of the stairs for years. I almost didn't want to open it because then the mystery would be over. When friends came round we would tip the trunk from one side to the other and listen to hear if anything rattled. If you were very quiet you could just about hear something light sliding inside".
It wasn’t until four years later that the owner of the suitcase was having building work done and saw the opportunity to wrench open the box with a crowbar. To her delight, inside she discovered a purse of gold coins, a diamond brooch and a three stone diamond ring.
"I had read Agatha Christie's biography and so I knew exactly what I was looking at." Mrs Grant continued, "They matched the description exactly. I was nearly hyperventilating!"
The jewels are mentioned in Agatha Christie’s biography as pieces that were earmarked for Agatha and her sister Madge to inherit from their mother’s collection. Christie writes: “My mother’s valuable jewellery consisted of ‘my diamond buckle' and ‘my diamond engagement ring’…Madge was to have the diamond crescent, I was to have the diamond buckle…”
“…my mother sorted amongst an array of odds and ends…all these required hours of sorting before they were packed in the trays in the various trunks.”
• The diamond 19th century diamond brooch is offered at £6,000-8,000 • The diamond three-stone ring is offered with estimate of £3,000-5,000