Man Finds Fabergé Egg Worth $33 Million on His Kitchen Counter

Empress Marie Feodorovna's egg. Photo by Prudence Cuming Associates, courtesy of Wartski.

An unidentified man in the United States just found out he was the owner of an authentic 19th century Fabergé egg worth some £20 million (about $33 million).

The man, who said the egg was resting on his kitchen counter, originally bought it for $14,000 from an antiques store in the Midwest; unaware of its value, he had planned to melt down the priceless antique for its gold, and the diamonds and sapphires attached to its surface.

In 2012, after the object had been languishing on his counter for years, the man Google searched the word “egg” and the name inscribed on the object, “Vacheron Constantin,” and found a newspaper article referring to the lost jewel. The man said he immediately contacted Fabergé expert Kieran McCarthy of jeweler Wartski, who later confirmed its authenticity. Wartski bought the egg on behalf of a collector.

The egg had been lost for decades and has not been publicly seen since 1903. Originally designed by Carl Fabergé, the egg was an Easter gift from Alexander III Emperor to Empress Marie Feodorovna in 1887. The egg was eventually taken by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution in 1917.

The first clue to its existence came in 2011, when researchers found a 1964 catalog from the New York auction house Parke Bernet, which described it as a “Gold Watch in Egg-Form Case”; the auction house sold it for $1,443 to a Southern woman, who then passed away in the early 2000s. The egg is one of 43 Fabergé eggs known to still exist.

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