The most expensive egg ever sold was the Faberge Winter Egg and it went for $9.5 million

Fabergé eggs are the most expensive Easter presents in history – worth at least £1m – and many of those that exist today are insured in the Lloyd’s market.

But where did such a pricey present come from? Was chocolate simply not enough?

For Alexander III, the Russian Tzar in 1884, it clearly wasn’t. He approached the country’s most famous jeweller, Carl Fabergé, to ask him to create a bejewelled egg with a surprise inside as a present for his wife Tzarina Maria. The Fabergé Egg was born, or laid, depending on how you look at it.

Tzarina was so delighted with her gift that Fabergé was commissioned to provide her with a different design of egg every Easter.

The popularity of eggs with the Russian Royal Family ensued, and Fabergé produced 56 Imperial Eggs during the following years. As time went on, their purpose evolved from Easter gifts to commemorations of events such as the coronation of Tzar Nicholas II and the opening of the trans-Siberian railway.

They are no less popular today, with the whereabouts of 44 of those Imperial Eggs known, and many in the hands of private collectors.

Which is where Lloyd’s comes in.

Charles Dupplin, head of the Art and Private Client Division at Lloyd’s art insurance specialist Hiscox, said the eggs remained one of the must haves for many private collectors, and Hiscox insures a number of them.

“They are one of those items which every private art collector wants to say they have owned at some time,” he said. “But unlike a painting, they are not the type of piece you could readily display and view. Therefore you do find that the eggs will come onto the market from time to time as collectors seek to sell.

“We have insured the eggs for a number of years for several different clients and at present we do cover some of their owners,” added Dupplin. “The eggs are the ultimate piece of silver and gold frippery and the owners tend to be those with eclectic tastes,”

He added: “Fabergé’s work was inordinately expensive even at the time and he had the ultimate marketing pitch. He would say that if a piece of his work had not sold by the end of that particular season he would simply destroy it. He had clients from all over the world queuing to buy his works. The other thing was that he never made two pieces alike, so any Fabergé item was truly unique.”

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