St Petersburg silver centrepiece – SFr13,000 (£11,610) at Schuler.

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One section that inspired flurries of bids consisted of Russian silver objects from Swiss collections.

Most of the pieces went way over the estimates and were snapped up by international bidders with Russian roots.

A case in point was a 17in (44cm) high centrepiece, created in 1881 by an unidentified St Petersburg silversmith with the initials JB. The shaft was modelled as a Cossack, holding a round bowl above his head.

The auction house was expecting at least SFr2600 but the price was SFr13,000 (£11,610).


A 19th century samovar – SFr11,000 (£9820) at Schuler.

It was a similar story with the next lot, a 20in (50cm) samovar from the second half of the 19th century, marked in Cyrillic letters by A Matissen who ran a factory in Moscow in the 1870s. The guide was SFr500, not least because the samovar was only made of silvered brass and also showed considerable signs of wear; nevertheless, the hammer fell at SFr11,000 (£9820).

Moderately estimated pairs of 18th century tcharki, small cups for strong liquor, decorated with niello work were also greatly in demand. They brought up to SFr7000 (£6250) per pair, 10 times the estimate.