Reports of the vast sums of money lost by some Russian oligarchs in the recent financial crisis did not appear to hamper enthusiasm for a collection of Russian cloisonné sold at Freeman’s in Philadelphia on October 8.
The estate of Joan R. Herschede of Cincinnati, Ohio included 21
items of Russian silver and cloisonné enamel, all unattributed and
most carrying very cautious estimates in the low thousands of
dollars. All the pieces soared above estimate.
The top price was achieved by a large early 20th century
enamelled kovsch, 10 1/4in (26cm) high, with a handle formed as
cockerel with red eyes. It was catalogued as bearing pseudo Fabergé
marks in Cyrillic but Fabergé specialists considered them
It was much admired for its size, its unusually upright shape
and the rustic colouring. It sold at $460,000 (£275,500), leaving a
£1000-1500 estimate in the dust.
Another impressive piece was an early 20th century, 15in (38cm)
tall silver and shaded enamel covered cup, carrying the highest
estimate of the group at £12,000-18,000.
Bearing marks for the revered maker Ivan Khlebnikov, the cup was
decorated with firebird and floral panels, with the domed cover
surmounted by a bird finial. Again it excited bidders, reaching
A second smaller 20th century enamelled silver presentational
kovsh - a more prevalent lower form with a flattened handle - was
inscribed with a monogram and St Petersburg 1892 and bore Gratchev
It had expectations of $2500-3500 but made $90,000