A Faberge egg made for the Rothschild banking family has sold at auction for a world record £8.9m ($18.5m). The Rothschild egg made in 1902 is just one of 12 in public hands known to have been produced to standards required by the Russian Imperial family.
The gold and pink egg has a clock for a face and a diamond-encrusted cockerel which nods its head and flaps its wings on the stroke of each hour. A private Russian art collector bought the clock at Christie's in London. He was in the auction room but not immediately identified.
The egg which has never been seen in public before was previously only documented in private family records. Made by Peter Carl Faberge, it was a gift to Germaine Halphen for her engagement to Baron de Rothschild in 1905.
Anthony Philips, international director of silver and Russian works of art at Christie's, said the Rothschild Faberge Egg "encapsulates every characteristic that defines a true masterpiece".
The sale price included the buyer's premium. The previous record was set when The Faberge Winter Egg sold in 2002 for more than £6.6m. The sale also broke two other records: for the most expensive timepiece sold and the priciest Russian object.