As predicted in this very publication, a late imperial period Fabergé box trounced its estimate at a fine jewellery auction in Auckland, New Zealand.
The rare box, made from panels of lapis lazuli framed in yellow gold, sold for NZ$87,750, up 338.8% on its NZ$20,000 ($15,560) valuation at the June 20 sale.
It was produced by Fabergé workmaster Henrik Wigstrom in St Petersburg, and featured an engraved lid, bordered by seed pearls, in addition to a thumb-piece set with diamonds.
Fabergé boxes are selling well in 2012. Two such items, more decorative than the New Zealand sale piece, sold for $458,500 and $362,500, respectively, in April.
"The fabulous jewels and objects of virtue created by the workshops of Peter Carl Fabergé are some of the most desired and collectable items in the world," said the auction house.
"The reason is two-fold: firstly they demonstrate a level of craftsmanship that is unrivalled, and secondly the history of Fabergé is intimately and forever linked with the romance surrounding the splendour of the Russian imperial court."
The box was the subject of an international bidding war, with a London buyer finally winning out over their New York rival - evidence of the global appeal of Fabergé items.
The piece was first owned by one Prince Kinsky, a London-based ambassador of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who bought it from Fabergé's London office for £35 in December 1910.
The record for Fabergé jewellery stands at the $18.49m accrued in 2007 for the Fabergé Rothschild Egg, made in 1902.
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