Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Golden globe

This finely crafted object (SHOWN OPEN AND CLOSED) came close to being melted down. A scrap dealer from the Midwestern U.S., recognizing its gold content and estimating the value of the diamonds and sapphires, paid $14,000 (€10,145) for it at a flea market. Prospective buyers thought he had overvalued the piece, so it languished in his kitchen for years until he googled the name etched on the clock. That brought him to an article featuring a photograph of the ornament and identifying it as a Fabergé egg. He contacted the expert named in the article, London jeweler Kieran McCarthy, who flew to the U.S. to verify the discovery. McCarthy describes, It was a very modest home in the Midwest, next to a highway and a Dunkin’ Donuts. There was the egg, next to some cupcakes on the kitchen counter. I examined it and said, ‘You have an Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg.' And he practically fainted. He literally fell to the floor in astonishment.” The Imperial Easter Egg had been designed by Carl Fabergé for Tsar Alexander III in 1887, seized by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution, and last seen in public in St. Petersburg in 1902. While its provenance is incomplete, the egg's artistic and historical value is estimated in the tens of millions of dollars. It has now been sold, with the identity of the buyer also undisclosed, and the Midwestern man may now be worth $33 million (€23.9 million).

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