The Austen House Museum won this round.
Kelly Clarkson is reportedly a big Jane Austen fan, so she took it in stride, when a ring, previously owned by the author, finally slipped between her fingers today. Clarkson’s trouble began in 2012, when she purchased the ring on auction at Sotheby’s. At the time, Jane Austen’s House Museum also bid for the ring, but Clarkson won out in the end.
This time, Kelly doesn't have much to sing about.
In a bid to keep the ring, considered a national treasure, within the UK, culture minister Ed Vaizey placed an export ban on the jewel, valid until September 30th. If the Jane Austen museum couldn’t raise the money or prove that the money would be raised by then, Clarkson would get to keep the piece of Jane Austen memorabilia. Luckily, thanks to an anonymous donation of £100,000 the museum managed to reach its target of £152,450 and match Clarkson's bid ahead of the 30 September deadline.
The singer was outbid just in the nick of time.
The museum’s curator, Mary Guyatt, said for The Guardian: "We have been stunned by the generosity and light-footedness of all those who have supported our campaign to meet the costs of acquiring Jane Austen's ring for our permanent collection. Visitors come from all around the world to see the house where she once lived, and we will now take great pleasure in displaying this pretty ring for their appreciation."
Fortunately, Clarkson, who also reportedly owns several other Austen artifacts, took the news in stride. The piece was reportedly intended to serve as her wedding ring, however fiancé Brandon Blackstock, commissioned a replica of the ring for her, which she has been seen wearing on many occasions, most notably during the 2013 Grammy Awards and the Second inauguration of Barack Obama. "The ring is a beautiful national treasure," she said on hearing about the successful bid, "and I am happy to know that so many Jane Austen fans will get to see it."
Luckily, Clarkson was an Austen fan and a good sport about it.