A rare Faberge egg was sold as scrap at a Midwest United States flea market. A scrap metal collector purchased the antique for $15,000 — the estimated value of the gold and gemstones. However, he had no idea the egg was worth millions.
National Post reports that the purchaser displayed the egg in his kitchen for numerous years. However, he soon became curious about the artifact’s origin. An internet search led to an article about missing Faberge eggs.
The golden egg is displayed on an ornate stand, which is encrusted with jewels. The main piece opens to reveal a Vacheron Constantin watch. The collector was stunned to discover his egg matched the description of a missing Imperial egg.
Artifact specialist Kieran McCarthy traveled to the United States to appraise the artifact. He discusses the experience:
“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.”
McCarthy was stunned. He said it was like “Indiana Jones being presented with the Lost Ark.” McCarthy eventually confirmed the artifact is a rare Imperial egg, which “was given by Alexander III to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna in Easter 1887.”
Faberge expert Geza von Habsburg confirmed that the artifact is “absolutely genuine.”
As reported by CBS News, a total of 50 eggs were created for the royal family. However, eight eggs were lost during the Russian revolution. Experts have identified the artifact as “one of the eight missing eggs.”
Although Faberge eggs have sold for up to $20 million at auction, the rare Imperial egg is estimated to be worth nearly $40 million.
Wartski eventually purchased the Faberge egg for an undisclosed amount, on behalf of a collector. Although the collector has remained anonymous, he agreed to display the artifact at Wartski’s London headquarters from April 14 through 17.
Genuine Faberge eggs were created by Peter Carl Faberge between 1885 and 1917. Although a majority of the eggs were created for royalty, a limited number were sold to private collectors. Each egg is unique and ornate. The golden eggs and stands are often encrusted with fine jewels.
The eggs are made to contain “surprises,” which include miniature replicas, toys, and jewelry, made with the finest gold and gemstones.
Although numerous eggs were created, few remain. The Imperial Faberge eggs remain the most unique and rare.