Museum, Kelly Clarkson Both Want Jane Austen Ring

Museum fighting to raise money to keep artifact in Britain
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2013 9:50 AM CDT
Museum, Kelly Clarkson Both Want Jane Austen Ring
Kelly Clarkson performs on Day 3 of the 2013 CMA Music Festival at the LP Field on Saturday, June 8, 2013 in Nashville, Tenn.   (Photo by Wade Payne/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – A Jane Austen museum is fighting to keep one of the author's rings in Britain after it was purchased by Kelly Clarkson. The former American Idol bought the gold-and-turquoise ring at a Sotheby's auction last year, for more than five times the estimated price. Up until that time the ring had remained in Austen's family; the Jane Austen's House museum had planned to buy it at auction but was outbid by Clarkson, a huge Austen fan. (Though the museum wants the ring, its fundraiser acknowledges it's "very good for Jane Austen PR that a young, famous American pop star expresses a love for her.")

Clarkson, who also owns a first edition of Austen's novel Persuasion, hasn't been able to take the ring to the US because the British government is allowed to temporarily halt the export of "national treasures," the AP reports. The museum has until December to raise the more than $235,000 asking price for the ring, which Clarkson has agreed to sell if the money is raised. Since launching a fundraising campaign Friday, the museum has already raised almost $160,000, most of it from an anonymous donor. (Read more Kelly Clarkson stories.)

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