Front Runners: Home to Roost

  • The Orange Tree Egg is among the nine Fabergé Easter eggs returning to Russia.
  • The Cuckoo Egg.
<< Back to Robb Report, April 2004
  • Sheila Gibson Stoodley

All nine of the Fabergé imperial Easter eggs from the Forbes Collection have ended up in one basket—in Russia, from whence they originated. Sotheby’s New York was planning to host an auction in April featuring the eggs as well as 180 other Fabergé pieces from the Forbes Collection. However, in early February Victor Vekselberg, a 46-year-old Russian energy company executive, purchased the entire collection in a private sale. Peter Carl Fabergé created only 50 of the eggs, for Russian czars Alexander III and Nicholas II, and the Forbes’ nine represent the world’s second largest collection; the Kremlin has 10.

Sotheby’s declined to disclose the price of Vekselberg’s acquisition, but the auction house had anticipated that the proceeds from the now-canceled April sale would exceed $90 million. The highlight of the collection, the Coronation Egg, an 1897 gift from Nicholas II to his wife, Alexandra, was expected to draw bids of $18 million to $24 million.  

“The collection is going to Russia,” says Bob Burkett, Vekselberg’s representative in the United States, “and there are plans for it to tour a number of cities in Russia, but where it will end up has not been determined.” 

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