The Independent got a chance to speak with Alexander Ivanov, the Russian entrepreneur who has made a fortune amassing–and selling–Russian works of art. He spent £2 million during London’s Russian week buying up antiques and works of art:
Much of Mr Ivanov’s purchasing was done before the prices went sky high, but it continued after – he claims that their value can “only continue to go up and up”. Whenever a Fabergé item came up at auction, Mr Ivanov was sure to be there bidding for it, whether it was a small lapel badge made for Tsarist officials, sold for a few hundred pounds, or an egg in the millions.
The centrepiece of his collection is the £9m egg, made in 1902, as an engagement gift to Baron Édouard de Rothschild, a member of the French banking dynasty. It is made from gold and pink enamel, and has a cockerel that pops out of the top and flaps its wings every half an hour. There is also a silver table clock, bought for Tsar Alexander III’s silver wedding anniversary by members of his family. Made with over 20 kilograms of silver, it features 25 silver angels, one for each year of marriage. […]
He funds his collecting by selling artworks to Russia’s rich and famous, usually at a huge profit. He has become an art dealer to the oligarchs, and claims that he always uses his own money to make purchases at auctions. “There’s always a queue of people who want to buy things for me,” he says. “If I’ve bought it, people know it’s worth something. At auctions a lot of people wait to see what I’m making bids for and then they start competing with me.” He says he has established special eye signals at most of the London auction houses so that other people can’t see when he’s bidding.
A Russian Billionaire Feathers His Fabergé Nest Egg (Independent)