Bay Tree

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The Bay tree egg (also known as the Orange tree egg) is a jewelled carved nephrite and enameled Easter egg made under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé in 1911,[1] for Nicholas II of Russia, who presented the egg to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna on April 12, 1911.[2]


Turning a tiny lever disguised as a fruit, hidden among the leaves of the bay tree, activates the hinged circular top of the tree and a feathered songbird rises and flaps its wings, turns its head, opens its beak and sings.[1]


Based on an 18th-century French mechanical orange tree,[3] it was incorrectly labeled as an orange tree for some time, but was confirmed as a bay tree after the original invoice from Fabergé was examined. Fabergé charged 12,800 rubles for the egg.[1]

In 1917 the egg was confiscated by the Russian Provisional Government and moved from the Anichkov Palace to the Kremlin.[1] It was sold to Emanuel Snowman of the jewellers Wartski around 1927.[1] Passing through different owners, it was sold to Malcolm Forbes in 1965 for $35,000, equivalent to $212,634 at the time of the 2004 sale of the Forbes Collection to Viktor Vekselberg. Vekselberg purchased some nine Imperial eggs, as part of the collection, for almost $100 million [4]

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