The family of media tycoon Forbes is selling the relics of Russian czars: the second largest collection of Faberge Easter eggs will be sold at Sotbis Auction.
Well-known millionaires Forbes, the publishers of the popular business magazine, are selling the richest collection of Faberge masterpieces. The cost for only one egg "Crowning" is estimated at 20 million dollars. Charles Faberge produced it for the first Easter which czar Nikolas II commemorated after his inheriting the throne.
"These are rarities of high quality. There are only 50 eggs produced for emperors in the world, and we expose nine of them at the auction ", director of Russian department for Sotbis Auction Joanna Vikkery says.
In addition to the nine Easter eggs, there are 180 more jewelry items of the royal Romanovs family. Founder of media empire Malcolm Forbes was preoccupied by the idea to gather the biggest Faberge collection. He was purchasing jewelry for almost 30 years. After his death in 1990 his successors inherited the collection. Under the will they had the right to sell them. Such a moment seems to have arrived.
"Even one Easter egg belonged to the czar is a great event for the auction. When nine of them are on sale, this is an unprecedented case in the history of auctions ", one of the Heads of Sotbis Auction House David Redden said.
The major part of Faberge works were sold from Russia to the West by Bolsheviks. "Samples of bourgeois art " were exchanged for food and machine tools. The friend of practically all Soviet leaders Armand Hammer was not ashamed to purchase antiques rarities while doing business with the Soviet Union. At the beginning of 30th he even received original stamps of Faberge firm from Anastas Mikoyan. The last Hammers secretary wrote the memoirs recollecting that the manufacturing fake eggs was put on a large scale.
The Russian Ministry of Culture reacted to the news about the auction with caution. " If we feel that some item exposed for the auction, any work of art is of primary importance for representing the Faberge art, we'll take part in the bids, " Minister of Culture Michael Shvydkoj said.
Critics consider, that only 43 original Faberzhe eggs have been preserved up to nowadays. Ten of them are kept in the Armory Museum of the Kremlin. According to the Chief Keeper of the Faberge Collection in the Kremlin Tatyana Muntjan, the egg still bearing its former number of the Armory Museum is exposed for the auction. "Even the fact that the czar's Easter masterpiece was sold from the museum requests from the state to return this item back here. It would be also wonderful if other Easter eggs could be returned to Russia ", Tatyana Muntjan said.
The Armory Museum is not going to participate in the auction because of the lack of funds. But it is still hoping for sponsors' help. "Well-known Russian antique dealers and collectors will take part In this auction. We hope some exhibits will end up in Russia", deputy director of the Moscow Kremlin museums Alexey Levykin said.
The collection is divided into separate lots and sold to individuals. Earlier the Armory Museum arranged exhibitions along with the Forbes family, but soon seeing these masterpieces will be not accessible for ordinary Russians.
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