When Pope Paul VI donated his personal (confirmed by the Vatican) ring and pectoral cross to the UN in 1965, he had no idea that one day the precious regalia would end up being part of an internet auction on eBay. However, the Pope did donate the jewels with the intention of making them important auction items. He wanted them to sell and raise money for the poor and misfortunate.
Pope Paul VI’s tenure coincided with a significant part of the Second Vatican Council, which is famous for having brought many changes in the Catholic world. One of them was the Pope’s willingness to engage the contemporary world by de-emphasizing the symbols of Catholicism and use them for charity purposes.
When the items were first put up for auction, they were purchased by Harry Levinson, a Chicago jeweler who shelled out $64,000 for them. The proceeds were split among four UN agencies. Since then, the diamond-studded crown and ring changed owners several times, and – believe it or not – Evel Knievel was one of them.
Now the unusual trip of these symbols continues in Alan Perry’s jewelry store in Wilmington. A widow whose husband used to own them contacted Perry and asked him if he would be willing to try an sell the precious objects. From here, they will make it to a public display, which will be opened from April 14 and through the Holly Week. Finally, the results of the eBay auction will tell us what will happen next to the papal ring and cross.