Russian Drink Set & Wax Case, ca.1980

Value (2009) | $2,200 Auction$2,900 Auction

Well, these were offered at an estate auction about 20 years ago in Fort Smith, Arkansas, from a family that was in the diplomatic corps and spent time in Russia. And supposedly they brought these items back, and I purchased these.

In terms of how they were portrayed or how they were advertised, can you tell me a little bit about that?

The items were described as items being brought back from Russia from the family, but other than that I just don't recall.

You've brought two very interesting items. The first item here, this is a drink set. This is a little more high end because of the fact that it's carved out of nephrite jade, silver mounted, gold mountings. And what's interesting is on the top is the double-crested imperial eagle. And on one side is the portrait of Czar Nicholas and on the other side is the Czarina. So the piece has very much an imperial flavor to it in terms of style and design. The second item, this is what is called a wax case. This would hold a cylinder of wax, and it would be traditionally used when you were sealing an envelope. You would heat the wax up and it would drip onto an envelope, and then you would impress your family seal to the envelope itself. Now, we see that there's a series of hallmarks on the bottom here. There's the Russian hallmark for silver. There's also the maker mark. And on this particular item, the base is marked Fabergé. The drink set also has similar marks. Do you recall how much you paid for the drink set? GUSET: Yeah, I think it was $6,500.

About $6,500. Okay. And for the wax holder?

Probably about $1,000.

Well, they seem to be reasonable prices 20 years ago for these types of items if they were Fabergé.


Unfortunately, what I do have to tell you is that these are not Fabergé, okay? These are copies, but these are extremely good copies. About 20 years ago, when I started in the auction business, a lot of this merchandise was just starting to come into the marketplace. And even experts in Fabergé were getting fooled by this.


Because they were making really good replicas. I wish they didn't have the fake hallmarks, because if they didn't have the fake hallmarks, then people would look at them as wonderful objects. Now they look at them as not being real, so they tend to discount them in terms of value. In today's market, I would say the drink set would bring a value at auction somewhere between $1,500 and $2,000. The wax holder, probably somewhere between $700 and $900. I would say for items like this, hold on to them, enjoy them, and, you know, maybe at some point you'll be able to find a marketplace for them that will help you recoup the money you put into them. If these were real, at auction, a wax case in this quality would range anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000. And with the drink set, probably somewhere in the $40,000 to $60,000 range at auction if these were original Fabergé.

Wow, that's interesting. Thank you so much.

Thank you for coming to the ROADSHOW.

Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
San Francisco, CA
Appraised value (2009)
$2,200 Auction$2,900 Auction
Raleigh, NC (June 27, 2009)

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