Our thanks to Sarah, who has sent us the link to eBay user topkapi5, who is selling the 'Brontë Sisters First Relic Sold at an 1898 Sotheby's auction'.
This item was described as Lot 89 "Lace - work by the Bronte sisters", in the Sotheby & Wilkinson auction on 2nd of July 1898. It is now offered once again for sale 110 years later. This item comprises of two pieces of fine lace work in an oak frame. The frame measures 13" x 13". On the reverse there is a note written in pencil by the original 1898 purchaser " Lace worked by the Bronte sisters bought at a sale of Martha Brown's effects at Sotheby & Wilkinson London July 2, 1898 - 3 pounds, 3 shillings". There is a paper label on the top right hand corner with the number 89 written in pen. This is a Bronte relic with an impeccable provenance.It is indeed a lovely piece of lacework, and more pictures - apart from this one here - can be seen on the eBay page.
Don't be put off by the astronomical opening price [£30,000]. Make your offer on what it's worth to you. I'm completely realistic.
The original Sotheby's 1898 archived listing for this item can be searched and viewed on the Internet.
Here's hoping it will find a nice new home, preferably - as usual - the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
EDIT: March 2011
The wish came true. The lacework is now safe at the Brontë Parsonage.