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Faberge Egg Makes Scrap Metal Dealer Millions of Dollars Richer

By Clyde Hughes   |   Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 10:26 AM

A U.S. scrap metal dealer was shocked to learn that an ornament he bought and planned to melt down for its gold was actually a lost Fabergé egg worth millions.

The man reportedly purchased the ornament at a Midwestern antique fair for about $14,000, and he only began to suspect it was valuable after reading about Fabergé eggs on The Telegraph's website.

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Kieran McCarthy of the Mayfair, England, jeweler Wartski identified the ornament as the Imperial Easter Egg, which was designed by Carl Fabergé for Tsar Alexander III in 1887 and seized by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution, according to The Telegraph.

Fabergé created 50 of the ornaments for the Russian Royal family. An ornament was last seen in public in March 1902 as part of a St. Petersburg Imperial treasures exhibition.

"I examined it and said, 'You have an Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg' and he practically fainted," McCarthy said. "He literally fell to the floor in astonishment."

Both buyer and seller wish to remain anonymous, and Wartski did not disclose the sale price, according to The Associated Press. 

In 2007, a Faberge egg sold at Christie's for $18.5 million.

The find has been likened by the expert who verified it to "Indiana Jones being presented with the Lost Ark," The Telegraph noted.

"I have been around the most marvelous discoveries in the art world, but I don't think I've ever seen one quite like this — finding extraordinary treasure in the middle of nowhere," McCarthy said. "The treasures are out there. They're not in the stately homes. This is the ultimate success of that spirit. It gives hope to us all."

The egg had several scratches where the metal was tested for its gold content by prospective buyers.

"The scratches make it more valuable, not less," McCarthy told The Telegraph. "We thought about removing them, but in the end the new buyer thought they enhanced the piece because they are part of its history."

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