A pair of Russian imperial vases that were discovered in an Oklahoma City mansion have been sold in a private deal, one week before they were due to be offered at Dallas Auction Gallery on April 17.
An anonymous collector paid a princely sum of $2.7m, making a considerable 80% increase on the $1.5m estimate they were given prior to the sale. They were obviously eager to beat the crowds, after the auction house received interest from across the world.
The vases had been packed away for nearly a decade, but were discovered to be rare pieces from the reign of Nicholas I. They were originally part of the home of the current owner Randy Buttram's grandparents, with the US 66 year old recalling playing around them as a boy.
Their true value was only realised when the auction house visited the mansion and noticed the mark of the Imperial Porcelain Factory.
Buttram's grandparents purchased the monumental vases (each stands at 4 ½ feet tall) from a gallery in Munich while travelling through Europe in 1928. Buttram's grandfather, Frank Buttram, founded Buttram Petroleum Co, which is now called Buttram Energies Inc.
It is believed that the communist government would have sold the precious vases to the German gallery once they had seized power in Russia in 1917, along with many other imperial artefacts.
With the Russian economy rapidly expanding since the fall of communism, imperial items are selling extremely well at auction, as the country's wealthy find themselves with a greater disposable income than ever before. At the 2013 TEFAF art fair, a piece of lead shot that almost killed Tsar Nicholas II and led to the onset of the revolution appeared with a $500,000 estimate.