Lot 419
  • 419

An Imperial Presentation Fabergé jewelled gold, enamel and hardstone box, workmaster Michael Perchin, St Petersburg, 1899-1903

120,000 - 180,000 GBP
299,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • nephrite, gold, diamonds, enamel
circular, carved of nephrite, the hinged lid centred with the rose-cut diamond-set crowned cypher of Emperor Nicholas II on a ground of translucent white enamel over sunburst engine-turning within a diamond-set bezel, the lid border of two-colour gold laurel festoons hung from diamonds, chased leaf rim mount, struck with workmaster's initials and Fabergé in Cyrillic, 56 standard


Presented by Emperor Nicholas II

Catalogue Note

Nephrite was the preferred hardstone in the production of Imperial Presentation boxes.  Symbolising Russian hope, nephrite, like malachite, proclaimed the mineral wealth of the country, of which Russians and their Emperor were justly proud.  Fabergé was famously the only jeweller entitled to use the prized stone, and his workmasters took full advantage of the privilege. 

This Imperial Presentation snuff box is one of 27 with the cypher of Emperor Nicholas II supplied by Fabergé to the Imperial Cabinet between 1899 and 1903, the year of Perchin’s death.  They ranged in cost from 800 to 2,000 rubles (see U. Tillander-Godenhielm, The Russian Imperial Award System, 1894-1917, Helsinki, 2005, p. 181); at least eight of these were made of nephrite, according to the Cabinet ledgers.  In addition to the present lot, these included the rectangular portrait box, also by Perchin, which sold, Christie’s New York, 21 October 2003, lot 154; and the circular cypher box by Perchin in the Lillian Thomas Pratt Collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (no. 47.20.271).  A later box by Wigström, like the present lot incorporating white enamel in contrast with the nephrite, is in the Walters Art Museum (no. 57.1047).  A circular nephrite portrait box, the lid border similar to that of the present box, was exhibited by A La Vieille Russie, New York, 25 October - 7 November 1961, cat. no. 88, illustrated p. 47.  Sotheby's is grateful to Svetlana Chestnykh for her assistance in researching this lot.