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The Gold Buyer Who Found a $30 Million Treasure

During the Russian Revolution of 1917, priceless Fabergé eggs were seized from the Russian royalty and nobility. During this tumultuous period, several of the eggs were lost.

In 2004, an anonymous scrap metal dealer was trawling his local bric-a-brac market in the US mid-west, when he found a peculiar jeweled egg. Based on the weight and quick estimate of gem value, he paid $13,302 for it and hoped earn a quick profit by reselling it to the tune of $15,000. Little did he know he was about to get much much more.

But not at first. He was unable to sell the egg – prospective buyers thought he over-estimated the price. But for 10 years, he stubbornly held on to the egg until one day he decided to do some research. The egg contained a watch engraved with the name “Vacheron Constantin.” His query brought him to an article featuring a very dated picture of his egg, and that’s when he learned what he really had.

Wishing to remain anonymous, he contacted Kieran McCarthy, Fabergé expert, at Wartski – the royally appointed jewelers of the Queen and Prince of Wales. McCarthy flew to the US and found, to his great astonishment, that the 1887 Third Imperial Egg had finally been found after all these years. Wartski purchased the egg on behalf of a private collector for an undisclosed amount, but the egg is estimated to be worth at least $30 million.

And it was nearly melted down for scrap! It reminds us of our own story of hidden treasure, but with less historical precedence.  

Pictured: The Third Imperial Fabergé Egg

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