London, Mar 5 (ANI): A battered leather trunk that had belonged to British crime novelist Dame Agatha Christie is said to have contained jewels worth up to 100,000 pounds.
Jennifer Grant, a fan of the Poirot and Miss Marple creator, had bought the box for 100 pounds at auction, and though she realised something was inside, she left it unopened for more than three years as no key was available.
When she finally asked a friend to force open its two brass locks, she was astonished to find it contained a metal strongbox.pon opening the strongbox, she discovered that it contained more than 50 gold coins, a buckle-shaped brooch and what is thought to be Christie's mother's diamond engagement ring.
Experts have valued the collection at a minimum of 20,000 pounds, but told Grant it could be worth five times as much with the Christie background.
"The trunk was a talking point at dinner parties for years, but I thought nothing of it. Eventually I discovered the locked strongbox but the auctioneer had no knowledge of a key," the Sun quoted her as saying.
"Inside it was a hoard of gold in a small crocheted bag, a diamond ring, and a beautiful buckle-shaped brooch wrapped in paper.
"I was thrilled I had something that touched Agatha Christie's life," she said.
Grant had the jewels valued by John Benjamin, a contributor to the BBC's Antiques Roadshow.
"If we can prove these are the Christie family diamonds who knows what someone will be willing to pay?" he said.
Christie, who died in 1976 aged 85, described some of her family jewellery in her autobiography.
Auctioneers Bearnes Hampton and Littlewood had sold the trunk with the initials C.M.M, which are the same as Christie's mother Clara Margaret Miller.
"If we made a mistake, I'll put my hand up," Andrew Thomas, from the firm's stated.
It is not known if Christie inherited the items and stored them in the box, or if she kept the trunk unaware they were inside. (ANI)