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Underrated Fabergé soars in Philadelphia

20 October 2008Written by ATG Reporter

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 genuine.

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 $220,000 (£131,750).

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 maker's marks.

It had expectations of $2500-3500 but made $90,000 (£53,900).

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ATG Reporter

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