London, Feb 24 (ANI): A controversial diamond ring that is part of Charles Dickens love-child rumour has fetched 26,000 pounds at an auction.
The 0.9-carat ring is regarded as final evidence that Britain's most famous novelist had a long-standing affair with his sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth.
Dickens had made her take a virginity test to silence the gossips and safeguard his reputation as a guardian of Victorian family values.
But the previous owners of ring say it was passed down to them from a secret love child, Hector Charles Dickens, born to Dickens and Hogarth.
Now an anonymous collector from Northern Ireland has paid the huge amount for the ring, which was a gift to Dickens from the famous poet Alfred Tennyson in 1854, reports The Telegraph.
Dickens' close relationship with Georgina fuelled hot rumours that they were enjoying a long-standing affair.
The great writer always shunned the "monstrous misrepresentations" about their relationship.
But descendants of Georgina, who have asked not to be named, claim the ring proves the writer had an illegitimate son with their distant relative.
Nigel Ward, from Nigel Ward and Company Auctioneers in Pontrilas, Herefordshire, said: "I don't think there was any really any doubt about the authenticity of the ring. We had a lot of people coming to the sale to view the ring and one of them said they needed to speak to me.
"They were friendly with an Ian Dickens who lives somewhere in Cambridgeshire and is the great, great grandson of Dickens and had seen what we had been saying on the website about the ring and was able to collaborate it all.
"He said it was all known about in the family but that they didn't really talk about it. Hector was the son of Georgina Hogarth and was then employed as a housekeeper in the family home. Throughout his life Hector was known as Charles Dickens the younger."
Dickens was given the ring, inscribed 'Alfred Tennyson to Charles Dickens 1854', whilst married to Catherine with whom he had 10 children. (ANI)