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DESCRIPTION: A gold-mounted carved Russian nephrite letter opener, surmounted by a carved kiwi, the gold mount of Greek key and acanthus design, in a fitted case; length 8 ¼”.
PREVIOUS CONDITION: Good.
NEW DAMAGE: A piece of the kiwi’s bill measuring ¼” x 1/8” was broken off, and a fill was made to replace the broken/missing piece.
INSURED'S RESTORER'S FEE FOR TREATMENT: $     350.00
INSURED'S APPRAISER'S CLAIMED VALUE: $11,000.00
APPRAISED FAIR MARKET VALUE: $  2,500.00
LOSS IN VALUE: $     625.00 (25%)
SCOPE OF CLAIM: $     975.00

COMMENT: We brought the letter opener to the Russian experts at two major auction houses. They both stated the same opinion:

  1. The letter opener does not appear to be by Faberge, nor does the box in which it is stored.
  2. The repair is only visible under magnification, and does not significantly diminish the value of the letter opener.
  3. As the letter opener is not by Faberge, even without the repair, its value would fall well below the $2,500.00 minimum of each auction house.

Upon careful reading of the A La Vieille Russie appraisal, we noted that they do not specifically attribute the letter opener to Faberge. The description states “marked in Cyrillic Faberge,” but does not designate the object “a Faberge letter opener” or “made by Faberge.”