Rich Ruskies Buy Back Their Heritage

Billionaires snapping up art that left the country under Soviets
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2007 6:07 PM CST
The "Egg Rothschild by Faberge" is displayed during a preview at Christie's in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 9, 2007. The Egg Rothschild by Faberge is expected to fetch between US$12 and 18 million...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The super-rich of the new capitalist Russia are busy buying back a treasure trove of Russian art, much of it bought up on the cheap by foreign collectors after the 1917 revolution. This week, a throng of Russian billionaires walked away with most of the good stuff from a series of Russian art auctions in London, reports the Telegraph.

One piece—a Faberge egg-shaped clock with a diamond-crusted rooster that pops up and flaps its wings—sold at Christie's to a Russian collector for over $18 million. Before the revolution, the Telegraph reports, there were a number of superb art collections in Russia, but Soviet leaders had little interest in imperialist art, much of which they sold off to make a quick ruble.