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The auctioneers told ATG that a report on Sky News online stating that they were pursuing the buyer, Jennifer Grant, for the return of the cache was inaccurate.

Andrew Thomas of BHL explained that all he had done was to consult lawyers on the situation as part of his duty of care to his clients, the Christie family, but he added that no decision had been taken to pursue the matter further, and any future such action was highly unlikely.

The matter arose after Ms Grant finally had the lock forced on a strongbox she found inside a leather trunk that she bought in September 2006 at the sale of items from Greenway, Christie’s home on the River Dart, before the house was given to the National Trust.

Inside the box were a number of gold sovereigns as well as a diamond-encrusted brooch in the shape of a buckle and other jewellery. The brooch is thought to be the one referred to in Christie’s autobiography, in which she expresses the hope that she will inherit it from her mother. The trunk bears the initials CMM, the same as Christie’s mother, Clara Margaret Miller.

Mathew Prichard, Christie’s grandson, who runs the Agatha Christie estate, was reported to have congratulated Ms Grant on her luck and said he might be interested in buying the jewels if they came on to the market.

Other parties raised the question of whether clear title had passed to Jennifer Grant and Mr Thomas told ATG that, on the strength of these concerns, he had felt duty bound to investigate the matter on behalf of his clients, but that was all.