Cash and carry! Miniature Faberge sedan chair sells for £480,000 at auction
- It was originally bought from antique dealer Wartski in London for £75 in 1929
- The tiny chair is made from gold, rock crystal, jadeite and mother of pearl
- Experts believe less than ten were made by Faberge and very few still exist today
This rare Faberge antique has sold for £480,000 at auction – after it was bought by a British collector for just £75.
The tiny sedan chair – made of gold, jadeite, crystal and pearl – was made for the Russian royal family, then sold off after the 1917 Communist revolution.
It ended up with a dealer in London and was bought by a collector in 1929 for £75, equivalent to £3,000 now.
This rare Faberge antique has sold for £480,000 at auction – after it was bought by a British collector for just £75
The chair, measuring 6in by 3.5in, was sold this week in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
There was huge interest, including from buyers in Russia and the US.
The chair was made between 1899 and 1903 and is one of fewer than ten such models made by Mikhail Perchin, Carl Faberge’s renowned craftsman.
Experts from the Cotswold Auction Company had given the small Russian antique a pre-sale estimate of between £60,000 to £100,000 but thought it could go for more.
It eventually sold for a hammer price of £380,000 but with fees added on the overall price paid by the winning bidder was £480,000.
A spokesman for the Cotswold Auction Company said: ‘It is a very good result and was more than we expected.
‘The vendor watched the sale unfold online and we spoke to them afterwards. Needless to say they are overjoyed with the result.’
The tiny sedan chair – made of gold, jadeite, crystal and pearl – was made for the Russian royal family, then sold off after the 1917 Communist revolution
The chair, measuring 6in by 3.5in, was sold this week by an auctioneer in Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Less than ten sedan chairs are known to have been made by Faberge and very few of them exist today.
Auctioneer Lindsay Braune said the level of detail and craftsmanship that went into making it was extraordinary.
She said: ‘This sedan chair is exceptional because of the quality of materials used and the superb craftsmanship that went into make it.
‘The precision craftsmanship includes the rock crystal windows engraved with simulated tasselled curtains, the hinged door with functioning handle revealing a mother-of-pearl seat to the interior.’
Less than ten sedan chairs are known to have been made by Faberge and very few of them still exist today
Describing the moment she was shown it by the anonymous vendor, she said: ‘It was a once-in-a-lifetime, spine-tingling find.
‘It belonged to a man who collected some absolute gems in the early twentieth century.
‘The vendors inherited it over 20 years ago in a box with a few other bits and pieces. It has always been kept packed away and not for show.
‘They knew it was made by Faberge but didn’t realise just how valuable it was.’
The item was sold with a handwritten note from Mr Woollcombe-Boyce at the time he purchased it.
The note states it was bought from Wartski for £75 and it came from the Russian Imperial collection at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.
It is known that Faberge items at the Hermitage were taken during the Antivariat – the Russian Ministry of Trade set up by Lenin in 1921 to handle the sale and export of art pieces acquired by the revolutionary government for much-needed funds.
Mr Braune said: ‘Mr Woollcombe-Boyce believed it was made for the Russian Royal family.
‘Wartski dealt in the pinnacle of luxury fine art pieces and clearly he was told it was from the imperial collection at the time he bought it.’