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  Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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A Faberge egg went under the hammer for $18.5 million
A Faberge egg went under the hammer for $18.5 million on Wednesday, as London auction houses smashed all previous records during a week of Russian art sales.

Christie's International, the world's largest auction house, sold the Faberge egg, previously owned by the Rothschild family, making it the most expensive Faberge piece ever sold.

"It's our most valuable week," a Christie's spokesman said, adding that the egg was bought by a Russian art collector.

The translucent pink egg with a miniature clock is made of enamel and gold and topped with a diamond-encrusted cockerel, which pops out every hour. It was made in 1902 as an engagement gift for Baron Edouard de Rothschild, and was never displayed until Christie's pre-auction exhibition held this October in Moscow.

Christie's also holds the previous record of $12 million for a Faberge egg sold in 2002. The egg was made for Russian Tsar Nicholas II, who presented it to his mother, Maria Fyodorovna, on Easter in 1913.

Sotheby's sold a total of 487 lots, including Orthodox icons, paintings, silver, ivory and porcelain for a record sum of about $80 million. Nine of the top 10 lots were paintings by early 20th century artists, such as Sergei Vinogradov and Mikhail Nesterov.

Goncharova's painting "Bluebells" (1909) fetched a staggering 3 million pounds ($6 million). Konstantin Makovsky's 1868 painting "From the Everyday Life of the Russian Boyar in the Late XVII century" went for 2 million pounds (over $4 million).

MacDougall Arts, which specializes in Russian art, aims to set a company record on Thursday with a top lot of Konstantin Makovsky's "The Murder of False Dmitry" (1906), estimated to sell for $1-2 million. The canvas depicts the murder in 1606 of the self-appointed ruler claiming to be Tsar Dmitry, son of Ivan the Terrible.

The auction house will also sell works by Alexander Yakovlev, Konstantin Korovin and other well-known Russian artists.

Bonhams, the world's oldest auction house, is offering a collection of rare Russian vines from the legendary Imperial winery at Massandra in the Crimea.

"The sale will include wines from the Imperial era, embossed with the seal of the Tsar, as well as many notable vintages from the first half of 20th Century," the auction house said in a press release. "The wines occupy a special place in Russia's cultural heritage having witnessed - and survived - some of the most turbulent events in the country's troubled past."


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