Long-lost Fabergé knives discovered in Poland

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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.

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