Kelly Clarkson may not be able to keep the Jane Austen turquoise ring she bought at an auction.
Clarkson bought the ring for $230,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in London last year, beating out seven other bidders. She also paid more than five times the pre-sale estimated price. Clarkson is now wearing a replica of the ring.
British Culture Minister Ed Vaizey placed an export ban on the item until September 30 to allow a UK-based buyer time “to show a serious expression of interest to buy the ring.” However, the deadline could be extended until December if there’s proof that there is a serious effort to raise money.
Vaizey said, “Jane Austen’s modest lifestyle and her early death mean that objects associated with her of any kind are extremely rare, so I hope that a UK buyer comes forward so this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation.”
Now, the Jane Austen Museum is trying to raise $230,000 to buy back the ring. An anonymous donor contributed $155,000 to the campaign.
“Kelly Clarkson should have been informed that this export ban was likely to happen. This is nothing against her at all — it could be anyone — and it does happen all the time, but we know that it is shame for her,” former museum curator Louise West said.
West added, “We are very confident we can match this price. But the ring should stay in this country because there is so little of Austen’s personal effects left anywhere at all and it would be great to bring it back to the house where she probably wore it and on the bicentennial year of the publishing of Pride And Prejudice.”
Jane Austen died in 1817 and left the ring to her sister. The ring remained in the family until it was sold at auction last year.
Do you think Kelly Clarkson should be able to take Jane Austen’s ring out of the UK?