Find of the century? Scrap dealer finds $20 million Faberge eggView(s):
LONDON (Reuters) – When a scrap metal dealer from U.S. Midwest bought a golden ornament at a junk market, it never crossed his mind that he was the owner of a $20 million Faberge egg hailing from the court of imperial Russia.
In a mystery fit for the tumultuous history of Russia’s ostentatious elite, the 8-cm (3-inch) golden egg was spirited out of St Petersburg after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and then disappeared for decades in the United States.
An unidentified man in the United States spotted the egg while searching for scrap gold and purchased it for $14,000, hoping to make a fast buck by selling it to the melting pot.
But there were no takers because he had overestimated the value of the watch and gems tucked inside the egg.
In desperation, the man searched the Internet and then realized he might have the egg that Russian Tsar Alexander III had given to his wife, Maria Feodorovna, for Easter in 1887.
When the scrap metal man approached London’s Wartski antiques dealer, he was in shock.
“His mouth was dry with fear – he just couldn’t talk. A man in jeans, trainers and a plaid shirt handed me pictures of the lost Imperial egg. I knew it was genuine,” Kieran McCarthy, director of the Wartski antique dealer, told Reuters.
“He was completely beside himself – he just couldn’t believe the treasure that he had,” said McCarthy, who then travelled to a small town in the U.S. Midwest to inspect the reeded yellow golden egg in the man’s kitchen.