Auction Houses Banking On Russian Art

Wonder if shots from the Russian billionaire’s wife erotic The Book Of Olga will be on the block?

WSJ: RUSSIAN SALES dominate the coming week at London auction houses as paintings, royal Fabergé, imperial silver, porcelain and books come under the hammer.

At Sotheby’s, Monika, Princess of Hanover, Countess of Solms-Laubach, is offering in a 100-lot sale a collection formed by Thyra, Princess of Denmark, Duchess of Cumberland (1853-1933). Many of the items were presents from royal relatives, including Thyra’s sister, Empress Maria Fedorovna of Russia. The collection is expected to raise in excess of £1 million. Among the most charming items is a red Fabergé silver-gilt, pearl and enamel frame in the shape of a heart from circa 1890. The frame contains a miniature painting of Empress Fedorovna, who gave it to her sister for Christmas of 1905 (estimate: £60,000-£80,000).

Despite the current economic downturn, Sotheby’s senior director Jo Vickery says “quality and rarity will sell.” William MacDougall, director at the specialist Russian auctioneer MacDougall Arts Ltd. in London, estimates that 90% of buyers during London’s two “Russian Weeks” (in June and November) are Russian. “There are still lots of Russians with lots of money,” he says.

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