Fabergé masterpieces to go under the hammer at New York auction

Source: Photoshot \ Vostock-Photo

Source: Photoshot \ Vostock-Photo

Two hundred and eighteen lots containing pieces made by the official supplier of jewelry to the Russian imperial court will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in October. A series of autographed prize medals is expected to generate particular interest among bidders.

Items of jewelry, silverware and a collection of prize medals from the workshops of the House of Fabergé, the illustrious supplier of jewelry to the Russian imperial court, will appear in a Sotheby's auction in New York on Oct. 23.

“This sale includes 71 lots of items from Fabergé; the lots of miniature pendant Easter eggs (lots 68 and 69) include works from many different jewelers of the period.  Fabergé is one of the most desirable names on the world market and we are always trying to find the very best examples to offer our clients,” said Karen Kettering, Senior Specialist in Sotheby’s Russian Works of Art Department, 

A serious bidding war is also anticipated for some of the enamelwork.

Undoubtedly, we are all thrilled to offer the enamel, gold, silver and hardstone study of a violet (lot 36),” said Kettering. “The freshness and delicacy of the piece represents the very best of the Fabergé flower studies: the workmasters and artisans worked the most precious materials with the greatest of skill to create an object of refined simplicity”

 A gilded silver tray ladle with the enameled coat of arms of the Russian Empire is also expected to attract a high level of interest. ”The large and impressive Fabergé silver jardinière in Rococo taste (lot 101) is extraordinarily heavy and, at 48 cm in width, quite an imposing object.  We had a similar centerpiece with the same coat-of-arms in a 2010 sale. We have not yet identified the family’s name, but it was obviously part of an important silver service for a very wealthy family,” said Kettering.

Collectors and investors are also only showing interest in precious autographed prize medals. In the days of the Russian Empire, these were given to specially merited directors of commercial railways, large auction houses and industrial associations. Their starting prices range from $5,000 to $25,000.

The auction's overall revenue, even if all the items are sold at starting prices, is expected to be over $1 million.

Kettering said that the current geopolitical tensions between Russia and the U.S. have not affected the demand for Russian art. “Sotheby’s auctions of Russian art in June 2014 achieved their highest total in six years, dispelling pre-sale doubts that had been raised about the market. Specifically, demand for Russian masterpieces has never been higher, with more lots selling for over £1 million at our Evening Auction than at any Russian sale before. These record sales demonstrate that there isn’t always a clear correlation between socio-political tension and the strength of the art market,” Kettering said.

Other American auction houses are also not backing off Russian art treasures. In December, New York will host the traditional international art and antique auctions with the participation of the largest auction houses and dealers from the U.S., the UK, Germany and France. Additionally, a collection of unique mechanic timepieces will be auctioned in December at the Antiquorum, a house that auctions pocket watches, hand watches and mantelpiece clocks made by the best watchmakers and jewelers from the mid-17th to 20th centuries. The collection to be auctioned is expected to contain a series of gift watches belonging to Russian Emperor Nicholas II. They were produced in a limited edition by the Pavel Bure Company, the official supplier of the imperial court.

The House of Fabergé (Dom Faberzhe in Russian) was founded by Gustav Faberge in St. Petersburg in 1842 and continued by his son Peter Carl Fabergé. The company became renowned for the high quality of its intricate pieces, in particular the ornate jewel-encrusted Fabergé eggs it created for the Russian tsars. The firm was nationalized by the Bolsheviks when they came to power in 1918.

Reporting from Russian news agency Tass was used in this story.

Watch the gallery at RBTH: The galaxy of Faberge masterpieces in the centre of St. Petersburg

 

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