Phenomenal Fabergé Finds

Phenomenal Fabergé Finds

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Hansons Auctioneers have announced the forthcoming sale of two hardstone Fabergé flowers which were discovered in the manner every auctioneer dreams of. Following the recent Antiques Roadshow on 15th April when Geoffrey Munn was seen valuing an exquisite Fabergé study of pear blossom belonging to the Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars for £1 million – the most expensive item ever valued on the programme – someone who had seen this special airing of the show was prompted to investigate the value a couple of items which had been stored in a shoe box for forty years. Charles Hanson  – of ‘Bargain Hunt’ fame – was lucky enough to see the pieces when they were brought into the offices of his auction house in south-west London.

The flowers – a barberry bush with purpurine berries and jade leaves in a rock crystal vase, and a morning glory blossom of enamelled gold and diamond flowers in a jade jardinière – are being sold as the property of Lady Juliet Duff, 1881-1965. This is interesting provenance indeed: Lady Juliet’s mother, the Marchioness of Ripon (1859-1917) was a notable customer at the London branch of Fabergé, which operated between 1903 and 1917.

That moment of discovery  – when a client says they’re terribly sorry to bother you, but what do you think of this, as they pull a treasure out of a towel or a plastic bag – that moment, is what auction house specialists get out of bed for. My novel, Olga’s Egg, is about Fabergé discoveries and the repercussions of unveiling something which has remained long hidden.

It will be fascinating to see what these flower studies make when they go under the hammer at Hansons on 11th June.

UPDATE

The flowers sold for a hammer total of £340,000 (plus buyer’s premium of 20%). The white flower ornament sold for £180,000 and the red berry version fetched £160,000 and both were sold to the same private buyer on the phone.

 

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