Will Kelly Clarkson get to keep her Jane Austen ring?
Kelly Clarkson is quite the Jane Austen fan. The pop star owns a first-edition of Austen’s “Persuasion,” and recently purchased the author’s ring at auction for five times the estimated price.
But the Jane Austen’s House Museum in Hampshire doesn’t want the relic to leave England and has launched a fund-raising campaign Friday to buy it.
The English government put a temporary export ban on the sale through Sept. 30, a power it can use with items deemed national treasures, with hopes a British buyer would come forward.
The organization said Monday has raised $159,000 -- most of it a from an anonymous donor -- toward the almost $236,000 needed to buy the ring from the singer.
Clarkson, who purchased the item last year at a Sotheby’s auction, hasn’t been able to bring the piece home to the U.S. The singer has agreed to sell the ring if the museum can come up with the funds.
Austen, who died in 1817, left the piece to her sister, Cassandra, and the ring remained in the family until Clarkson bought last year.
The museum, set in Austen’s former southern England home, hoped to buy the ring before being outbid by the singer.
The museum extended an invitation to the “American Idol” alum for a visit when she’s next in Britain.
“It is very good for Jane Austen PR that a young, famous American pop star expresses a love for her,” said museum fund-raiser Louise West.
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