A long-lost Faberge figurine of Empress Alexandra of Russia's personal Cossack bodyguard is expected to see outstanding results at Stair Galleries on October 26-27 in New York.
The piece, commissioned by the Tzar Nicholas II in 1912, will sell with a $500,000-800,000 estimate.
The figurine has not been seen since it left Russia in the 1920s, having been sold by the American art dealer Armand Hammer. It was sold to the mother-in-law of the recently deceased collector from whose estate it is now being offered in 1934, and has remained in a Hudson Valley attic since.
Depicting Nikolai Nikolaevich Pustynnikov (1857-1918), it is one of two such portrait figures, the other representing Alexei Alexeievich Kudinov (1852-1915), the Cossack guard of the Tsar's mother, Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna.
The other figure is currently housed in the collection of the imperial palace of Pavlosk near St Petersburg.
Hardstone carvings from Faberge are exceedingly rare, according to the auction house, who state that they are "on a level with the imperial Easter eggs". Portrait figures are rarer still, with this examply boasting cabochon sapphire eyes, nephrite and jasper decoration, and gold and enamel details.
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