Kieran McCarthy, a London antique dealer, says a gold ornament bought by a US scrap-metal dealer a decade ago has turned out to be a rare Faberge egg worth millions.
The egg was purchased at a Midwestern antique fair for about $14,000 a decade ago. The man who purchased the egg in the Midwest had intended to sell it to someone who would melt it down so he could turn a profit, but prospective buyers rejected his offers, believing that he was overestimating the egg's value.
The egg, containing a Vacheron Constantin watch, was an 1887 Easter gift from Russian Czar Alexander III to his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna. The egg was last seen in public in 1902 as part of an exhibition of imperial treasures in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The buyer only began to suspect its value after searching online in 2012 for Vacheron Constantin, whose name was engraved on the watch inside.
He found an article about the 50 imperial Faberge Easter eggs made for Russian royalty and then contacted McCarthy, who flew to the U.S. to verify it and negotiated its sale to a collector.
“It was a very modest home in the Midwest, next to a highway and a Dunkin’ Donuts,” McCarthy told The Telegraph. “There was the egg, next to some cupcakes on the kitchen counter.”
McCarthy said the man “literally fell to the floor in astonishment” when he found out that the egg was the real deal.
The dealer did not disclose the sale price. In 2007, a Faberge egg sold at Christie's for $18.5 million.