Monday, July 19, 2010

Russian Billionaire Boosts $2 Billion Faberge Collection


Russian billionaire Alexander Ivanov says he has spent 90 million euros ($107.8 million) in the last year to add 100 additional items to a collection of 3000 Faberge items he says are worth $2 billion.

It is surprising that there could be that many items in total in the world, let alone in one person’s collection.

Ivanov shows his collection in his own museum that he has in the German spa town of Baden Baden. He chose that location because it has 8 million visitors a year and historically has been popular with the Russian well-to-do. In the 19th century, prominent visitors included writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky and members of the Russian royal family. Ivanov plans to open a second museum in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, another popular European tourist spot.

Ivanov’s biggest purchase was the 1902 Faberge egg made as an engagement gift for Baron Edouard de Rothschild. Ivanov bought it in 2007 for $18.5 million, and says it’s Faberge’s “finest ever.” The gold and pink enamel egg has a clock and a diamond-set cockerel that pops up every hour and flaps its wings (see photo above).

Ivanov’s latest purchases include a 27-inch high silver clock given to Russian Emperor Alexander III and his wife by relatives in 1891 for their 25th wedding anniversary. He wouldn’t say how much he paid.

Faberge pieces prove that a thing of beauty is a joy forever.

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