Long-lost Fabergé knives discovered in Poland


Two fish knives made by the legendary Russian jeweller Carl Fabergé have been discovered - all that remains of a solid silver tableware set that was melted down a hundred years ago.

In 1918, the possessions of aristocratic families were being seized and melted down by the Bolsheviks, and the Kelch family's extravagant cutlery set was taken.

SEE ALSO: Fabergé flower stuns Antiques Roadshow experts

SEE ALSO: Fabergé egg worth £20m bought at market sale for scrap

However, one pair of fish knives was saved, and given as a reward to the Red Army soldier who'd melted down the rest of the set. He sold them to a doctor in 1921, and they disappeared from view for nearly a century.

"Two fish knives - one for serving that is 35 centimetres (14 inches) long and another for individual use that is 21 centimetres - were miraculously spared," Adam Szymanski, a Polish art historian and Faberge expert, tells AFP.

"Art historians and the Faberge Foundation thought that this silverware service had disappeared forever, in its entirety."

Faberge knives

The cutlery was commissioned by Barbara Kelch-Bazanova, the daughter of merchants, who married into an aristocratic family. The 32-place set was made to an unusual neo-gothic design and features the letter 'K' - for Kelch - along with the Faberge stamp.

According to Szymanski, a US collector has already offered a million euros for the two knives, and an anonymous Russian collector is also keen. However, other experts tell AFP that they are likely to be worth a lot less.

Fabergé is most famous for his jewel-encrusted eggs - he created dozens for the Romanov tsars, and the Kelch family had seven of their own.

And examples of his work are still turning up unexpectedly. Earlier this year, for example, a Fabergé spray of flowers valued at up to £1 million was revealed on the Antiques Roadshow.

And last year, amazingly, a golden egg containing a watch was bought by an American man for its scrap value; but left unsold as he couldn't find anyone that would beat the £8,000 price he'd paid for it.

It was only in a moment of desparation that he googled the name on the watch and discovered what he'd actually found - and that the Fabergé egg was worth as much as £20 million.

Incredibly valuable coins
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Incredibly valuable coins
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The only half crown on the list gets its position from its rarity value. However, the fact this is a silver coin rather than a gold one does affect its value - so it’s worth £10,500. It’s significantly less than others on the list - but it has still appreciated 79,445%.

This is the newest coin in the top ten, and the first year that sovereigns were produced featuring the Queen. The coin was produced in small numbers for investors - rather than for circulation - so is thought to be worth £12,500, due to its rarity.
This is another collectable gold coin prized for its rarity value. It’s worth £15,000 today and has appreciated 191,716%
This was issued in very small numbers, as it was produced during WWI. As a result, few are available - especially as uncirculated coins - so one in good condition will fetch £16,000.
This is another coin prized for its rarity, thanks to a relatively low number being minted, and more being taken out of circulation during WWI. It’s now thought to be worth £17,000 after appreciation of 42,084%.
This 1926 coin has shot up in value and is now worth £31,500. The rise in value is partly to do with a very low mintage, and partly to do with the fact that people were asked to hand their sovereigns over to be melted down during WWI, which took many of them out of circulation.
This brass threepence from 1937 has benefited enormously from the fact that Edward didn’t stick around for long to get too many coins struck in his image before he abdicated. It is now worth £45,000.
This 1933 penny has seen a stunning appreciation in value and is valued at a whopping £72,000 today. The value is due entirely to rarity. Only around seven British versions of this coin were minted, and were intended for the King to bury under the foundation stones of new buildings. They have been subject to theft, and a few are said to be in private hands now.
This isn’t the oldest coin in the list, but it was produced in a year when all gold coins were recalled and exchanged for paper money - so the vast majority were melted down. Its rarity and popularity puts it head and shoulders above the rest. It is worth an eye-watering £6,500,000, and has increased in value 2,178,885% since it was produced.

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