Jane Austen on the Block! ~ The RING and the Books…

An exciting day in Austen-Land! The much-touted Ring is up for auction!, as well as first editions of five of Austen’s novels [wherever did the Sense and Sensibility end up?] – here are the details from Sotheby’s Sale No. L12404 English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations – London | 10 July 2012  – I will report later today the results… See the results in red below – to include buyer’s premium…..

Lot 59: Austen, Jane. GOLD AND GEM SET RING

ESTIMATE: 20,000 – 30,000 GBP Sold for £152,450  (about $236,298.)- also learned that the ring is actually natural turquoise not the odontalite as noted in the catalogue.  The bidding was quite fun to watch – all quite dramatic as the auctioneer baited the bidders in room, on the telephone and the internet  to keep the bidding going…  [update 2: “a battle between eight bidders … was eventually bought by an anonymous private collector over the phone, the auction house said” (from Reuters.com)]

set with a cabochon blue stone, natural turquoise, size K½ with sizing band, once belonging to Jane Austen, in a contemporary jeweller’s box (“T. West | Goldsmith | Ludgate Street | near St Paul’s”)

[with:] autograph note signed by Eleanor Austen, to her niece Caroline Austen, “My dear Caroline. The enclosed Ring once belonged to your Aunt Jane. It was given to me by your Aunt Cassandra as soon as she knew that I was engaged to your Uncle. I bequeath it to you. God bless you!”, 1 page, November 1863, with address panel on verso and remains of black wax seal impression, fold tears; also with three further notes by Mary Dorothy Austen-Leigh detailing the ring’s later provenance, 5 pages, 1935-1962

[more detailed provenance here: http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2012/english-literature-history-childrens-books-and-illustrations/lot.59.html – click on “catalogue notes”]
Lot 55: Austen, Jane. MANSFIELD PARK: A NOVEL. EGERTON, 1814

ESTIMATE: 3,000 – 5,000 GBP  Sold for £5250 (about $8,138.)

12mo (174 x 102mm.), first edition, 3 volumes, without half-titles, nineteenth-century half calf, marbled boards,  some spotting and browning, some gatherings proud,  recent expert repairs to binding and joints.


ESTIMATE: 2,500 – 3,500 GBP  Sold for £4000 (about $6200.)

12mo (175 x 102mm.), 4 volumes, first edition, watermarks, without half-titles, nineteenth-century half calf, marbled boards,, some slight staining to edges of some leaves, browning and spotting, recent expert repairs to joints and spines, some edge-wear. Northanger Abbey was completed in 1798 or 1799, and then substantially revised over time. Persuasion, a more gentle satire of manners, was written between 1815 and 1816. The novels were published posthumously in this tandem edition of 1,750 copies.


ESTIMATE: 20,000 – 30,000 GBP  Sold for £22,500 (about $34,875.)

12mo (174 x 102mm.), 3 volumes, first edition, watermarks, without half-titles and advertisements, nineteenth-century half calf, marbled boards, B12 of volume 1 crudely opened and slightly creased, some gatherings proud, some spotting, staining and browning to text, volumes 1 and 3 re-backed, some recent expert repairs to binding and joints, some edge-wear.

Lot 58: Austen, Jane. EMMA: A NOVEL. C. ROWORTH FOR JOHN MURRAY, 1816.

ESTIMATE: 10,000 – 15,000 GBP  UNSOLD – bidding went to £7500

12mo (172 x 103mm.), first edition, without half-titles, nineteenth-century half calf, marbled boards, some creases at edges of some leaves, some spotting and browning, some gatherings proud, volume 1 re-backed, recent expert repairs to binding and joints, some edge-wear.

[All titles have the bookplate of Bridget Mary McEwen.]

Further Reading about The Ring:

The Guardian, 6 July 2012: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jul/06/jane-austen-ring-for-auction

Diana B. at Austen Authors: http://austenauthors.net/jane-austens-ring

Julie W. at Austenonly: http://austenonly.com/2012/06/21/first-editions-and-jane-austens-ring-a-bumper-austen-sale-at-sothebys-on-july-10th/

[and please note at the end of this post wherein Deirdre Le Faye weighs in on the ring’s provenance – the date of the note from Eleanor Austen as noted in the printed catalogue is incorrect … and now corrected in the online version]

[Text and image from the Sotheby’s catalogue]

@2012 by Jane Austen in Vermont

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