You never know what will turn up at a flea market.
A Midwest metal dealer paid a paltry $14,000 for a gold antique with the hopes of melting it down and getting money for the gold. He figured he’d make a quick $500 to $1000 from it.
He was wrong.
Flea Market Treasure
The man, who requested not to be identified, had purchased the antique egg a few years back thinking he could sell it for the value in gold. He tried contacting several antique shops and even some places that bought gold, but they didn’t want his egg. Stumped, he decided to look up the “Vacheron Constantin” — the name on the watch — and the word “egg.”
The Mystery Deepens
The words,”Vacheron Constantin” and “egg,” brought up an article from the British Daily Telegraph which show a picture of his egg and quoted the owner of Wartski, a company that specializes in Faberge Eggs. The owner, surprised at seeing his egg, knew he had something special. He flew out to Wartski in London and showed the Wartski owner, Kieran McCarthy, a picture of his egg. McCarthy got on a plane and visited the egg’s owner. The egg was sitting in the man’s kitchen next to a cupcake.
When McCarthy told the man that the egg was a missing Faberge Egg worth $33 million dollars, the man nearly passed out. Wartski arranged for an undisclosed buyer who will allow the company to display the egg from April 14th through the 17th of 2014.
History Behind the Faberge Egg
Czar Alexander III ruled Russia in the 19th century. He purportedly gave the egg to his wife, Maria Fyodorovna, for Easter in 1887. The egg was made by August Holmström, Faberge’s chief jeweler, in St. Petersburg. Czar Alexander was crowned in 1865 and ruled Russia during a turbulent time. Despite this, he was known as the Peacemaker since his country was not embroiled in war during his reign.
The Bolsheviks seized the egg when they came into power. There’s a record of the egg when the Soviet government tried to sell it. What happened to it is anyone’s guess, but in March 1964 it was sold in New York at auction for a mere $2,450. It was sold as a “gold watch in egg form case” and it was unlikely anyone knew what it was. This particular Faberge egg hasn’t been seen in public in about 112 years. How it got to the Midwest or into a flea market is pure conjecture.
What $33 Million Dollars Looks Like
It’s hard to imagine anything that small being worth so much, but the egg, which is about the same size as the aforementioned cupcake, is valuable not only because of the gems and gold, but because of the history.
The egg is gold and accented with sapphires and a gold garland with diamonds. It sits on four gold legs. When the egg is opened, it reveals a lady’s “Vacheron Constantin” watch with diamond-encrusted hands and a white enamel face.