During recent online Sotheby’s Russian Works of Art sale, a rare an important Fabergé icon was realised at £375,000/$475,050 USD, setting a new world record for a Fabergé icon sold at auction. Pursued by six determined buyers, the gem-set silver and en plein enamel icon of Christ Pantokrator, achieved more than 4.5 times its high estimate, leading the online sale which totalled £2.4 million.
The icon appeared on the market for the first time with unbroken provenance, over a century after it was acquired by the Molchanov family in 1916. Also, originally listed in the Imperial Cabinet Records, the icon was among a list of possible gifts chosen for presentation by Emperor Nicholas II to the King and Queen of Montenegro on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the King’s rule and their golden wedding anniversary in August 1910.
Helen Culver Smith, Sotheby’s International Head of Russian Works of Art, commented: “The rarity and quality of this masterpiece by Fabergé are overwhelming and expressed in its every element: from the technical mastery of Fabergé’s enamelling technique to its diversity of jewelled gemstones and art nouveau silverwork. Moreover, it was an honour to work directly with the descendants of the family, who originally purchased this icon in 1916, to bring it so successfully to market. Having travelled with the family from Russia to Harbin China, Canada and finally America, I was absolutely astounded by the piece’s provenance and rarity. It is the finest Fabergé icon I have ever seen on the market and we are delighted that it inspired our collectors, who are true connoisseurs in this field, as well.’”