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Woman Finds Jeweled Treasure In Agatha Christie's Trunk

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Every collector might have this hope, that the trunk they get at an estate sale might be found to contain a treasure, a letter, a few coins, jewels. In the case of Jennifer Grant, it had contained the solution to a mystery and a secret treasure. When Miss Grant bought a trunk from the estate of a famous novelist back in 2006, she didn't know that it contained not just jewels, but the jewels of Agatha Christie. Jennifer Grant joins us now from her home in Sussex. Thanks very much for being with us.

JENNIFER GRANT: My pleasure.

SIMON: So can you tell us, though, about the moment you pried open the strong box or had someone pry it open?

GRANT: Well, if you just sort of rocked it gently from side to side, there was just the slightest sort of noise. I really - you had to really listen hard to hear this thing. And so then I thought, oh, I think there's something in here. Well, after that, it was Ian (ph), who is a builder who was doing some work for me - I said have you got any crowbars? And he said yes. So I said, right, come on. Let's jimmy this thing open. And that's how it happened, you know. We put it on the kitchen table, and we opened it up. And lo and behold, there was this tiny, little crochet bag full of gold sovereigns and then a really tiny, little homemade cardboard box - only about two inches square, I suppose - with a diamond ring and a diamond buckle brooch in it.

SIMON: Wow. Do you have any idea about the history of these jewels, of the coins?

GRANT: I had read Agatha Christie's autobiography, and so strangely enough, I instantly knew what I was looking at because in her autobiography she mentions her mother's diamond engagement ring and her diamond brooch shaped like a buckle. And I thought, well, that's it. These are what I've got my hands on now.

SIMON: Forgive me for asking, but did you try them on?

GRANT: I did. They look dreadful on me.

SIMON: (Laughter).

GRANT: I'm not a diamond girl. I look as though I've stolen them, and I have a sister who felt they looked quite happy on her, but that's another story. So...

SIMON: Well, what are you going to do with them?

GRANT: I sold them. They were sold at Bonham's on Wednesday.

SIMON: Do I say congratulations? Did they go for a good price?

GRANT: They went for a good price, but I - you know, it's funny. I felt really sad about it, but I'm very keen to get a narrow boat, a sort of canal boat. I thought okie dokes, it's time they went under the hammer. But I have very many happy memories, still to this day, wearing them 'cause I could be a Miss Marple, but not wearing diamonds, I'm afraid.

SIMON: Jennifer Grant joining us from her home in Sussex. Thanks so much for being with us.

GRANT: Yeah, not at all, it's been great fun.

SIMON: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.