A £20 million Imperial Easter Egg designed by Fabergé himself was unknowingly bought by an American scrap metal dealer to melt down before he realised its value.
The owner, who wanted to remain anonymous, purchased the gold and diamond and sapphire encrusted egg for £8,000 at a bric-a-brac market in the early 2000s with the intention of selling it on for a small profit, but when the sale fell through he kept the egg.
It wasn’t until 2012 when he Googled the name etched onto the egg, ‘Vacheron Constantin’ and the word ‘egg’, that he discovered a news article displaying a picture of his egg claiming it was worth £20 million.
He contacted an expert mentioned in the article, who flew to America to verify if the egg was indeed the Fabergé egg mentioned, and was stunned to discover that it was. The Fabergé expert, Kieran McCarthy of Mayfair jeweller Wartski, purchased the egg on behalf of a Fabergé collector, who has since lent it to Wartski for public display between April 14-17.
McCarthy said of the find: “I examined it and said, ‘You have an Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg.’ And he practically fainted. He literally fell to the floor in astonishment.”