Top Five Rediscovered Collectibles - gems which should never have been lost After intriguing claims of a rediscovered portrait of Jane Austen, here are our top five re-found collectibles - by Paul Fraser Collectibles
News-Antique.com - Dec 08,2011 - On Boxing Day in the UK, a documentary is to be shown assessing the case for a portrait being that of celebrated author Jane Austen depicted from life. It's a relatively unusual situation in which the excitement hinges not on the artist but the subject.
Indeed, it isn't even the subject as such that makes the difference: the work has 'Miss Jane Austen' written on the back, and there's no reason to think that the artist didn't intend it as a depiction of the writer of Pride and Prejudice. But then any of us could do that, and until now it has been suggested that it is an 'imaginary' portrait - not drawn from life.
Jane Austen scholar Dr Paula Byrne has suggested that it would be bizarre if such a portrait had been drawn as early as the 19th century as it is believed to have been, as Austen was not truly famous until long after her death in 1817.
As the portrait appears to show a genuine family resemblance, she argues that it is the first genuine portrait of Austen other than the frustratingly limited sketch drawn by her sister Cassandra. We'll bring you any more news as it comes. For now, here are our Top Five rediscovered collectibles:
#5 Apollo flag fragments
Space is an unusual area in collecting in that it's quite possible for there to be extremely desirable collectibles in existence which no one has a hope of owning or even going to see.
For example, whilst space fans wouldn't necessarily be pleased if someone took a private trip to the lunar surface and snatched the flag which the Apollo 11 crew planted on there, we can guarantee there would be people wanting to buy it back here on Earth.
Earlier this year, Thomas Moser surprised everyone by offering the opportunity for collectors to do the next best thing: he presented material trimmed from the flag. Sent under the hammer at Ira and Larry Goldberg, it eventually brought $45,000.
#4 The key to missing an iceberg
The sinking of the Titanic has proved to have an enduring effect on the minds of many. It is the accident, used as a byword for tragedy and failure in common speech and inspiring a huge Hollywood blockbuster.
Only a fateful combination of circumstances led to the 'unsinkable' ship going down on its maiden voyage. One of the most remarkable is that the crew could not access the binoculars. Of course it was dark anyway, but how much of a difference?
"Well, enough to get out of the way." was the blunt answer given by one of the lookouts who had been present when asked the question at the inquiry. Where was the key to the storeroom, the absence of which condemned so many to a cold, wet grave?
It turned out to have been kept in the pocket of a sailor transferred onto another ship at the last minute.
The key sold for £90,000 ($135,000) at Christie's in