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Imperial Treasures: Faberge From the Forbes Collection; Sotheby's to Sell Nine Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs.

Sotheby's announced today that it would sell nine magnificent Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs from the world- renowned Forbes Collection, the largest private collection of the fabled Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs in the world and one of the largest collections in existence, the others residing in the Armory Museum in the Kremlin and the collection of Queen Elizabeth II. So exquisite and desirable are Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs that they are the standard metaphor for all treasures of the utmost rarity and value. They were first commissioned from the House of Faberge by Tsar Alexander III in 1885 as Easter gifts for his wife, the Tsarina Maria Feodorovna. His son and successor, Tsar Nicholas II, later commissioned treasures for his own wife Alexandra and for his mother, the Dowager Empress, continuing an Imperial Easter tradition which endured for over thirty years. The Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs as well as over 180 other dazzling Faberge creations will be offered at auction at Sotheby's in New York on April 20 and 21, 2004 and together are estimated in excess of $90 million. The presale exhibition will open on April 12th, Easter Monday, and extend through the morning of April 20th. There will be a press preview prior to the opening of the exhibition.

In announcing the auction, the Forbes family stated: "The Faberge Collection was one of the great passions of our father's life. The acquisitions, the auctions and its assembly were extraordinary adventures for all of us.

"For the past fourteen years, since his death, we have continued to share this wonderful Collection with the public in the Forbes Galleries and in shows around the world. As our father said in his book, More Than I Dreamed: A Lifetime of Collecting, 'I've often told my children I hope that, if they decide to be done with one of the collections, they will put it back on the auction block so that other people can have the same vast fun and excitement that we did in amassing it.' The family has now decided it is time for us to make this unique treasure trove available to other collectors so they may have the thrill of owning a rare and exquisite work of Faberge. Also, the sale will allow each of us to pursue our own individual interests, something our family has always valued."

It was with the purchase of a gold cigarette case in 1960 that Malcolm Forbes, publisher of Forbes Magazine, began his lifelong pursuit of magnificent Faberge objects. Five years later, at Sotheby's, then known as Parke-Bernet in New York, Mr. Forbes acquired The Duchess of Marlborough Egg, the only Faberge Egg made for an American and twenty years later, he bought an Imperial egg, the Cuckoo Egg, at a memorable Sotheby's sale. "Sotheby's has been associated with this magnificent collection for almost forty years and offering it at auction is a great honor for our firm," said Bill Ruprecht, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby's Holdings, Inc. "Without question, this Collection is among the most beautiful ever assembled and is a great testament both to the extraordinary artistry of Faberge and to the brilliant eye of Malcolm Forbes."
 Highlights from the collection:

 Imperial Faberge Easter Eggs

 The Coronation Egg, 1897 (est. $18/24 million)
 The Lilies of the Valley Egg, 1898 (est. $12/18 million)
 The Fifteenth Anniversary Egg, 1911 (est. $10/15 million)
 The Orange Tree (Bay Tree) Egg, 1911 (est. $10/15 million)
 The Renaissance Egg, 1894 (est. $5/7 million)
 The Cuckoo (Cockerel) Egg, 1900 (est. $5/7 million)
 The Order of St. George, 1916 (est. $4/6 million)
 The First Imperial Egg, the Hen Egg, 1885 (est. $3/4 million)
 The Rosebud Egg, 1895 (est. $3/4 million)

 Other Faberge Commissions

 The Kelch Hen Egg (est. $2/3 million)
 The Chanticleer Egg (est. $4/6 million)
 The Spring Flowers Egg (est. $700/900,000)

 Objets de Luxe

 A miniature watering can (est. $200/300,000)
 A miniature basket of lilies of the valley (est. $120/180,000)
 A pink carnelian rabbit with diamond-set eyes (est. $12 /18,000)
 A miniature Empire-style chair bonbonniere ($800,000/1,200,000)
 An Imperial Presentation Tray (est. $2/3 million)
 The Dancing Moujik (Peasant) (est. $500/700,000)

Complete Press release available on or through Sotheby's
 Press Office at 212-606-7176

CONTACT: Diana Phillips, Matthew Weigman, Patty Fox or Lauren Gioia, all of Sotheby's, +1-212-606-7176, or fax, +1-212-606-7381

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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 8, 2004
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