Russian buyer snaps up £2.7m decoration that was worn by the tsar

A diamond-encrusted military decoration once worn by Russian tsars and their families sold yesterday for a record £2.7m to a private Russian collector.

The Order of St Andrew, dating from 1800 and from the Russian crown jewels, fetched more than four times its estimate of £600,000, setting a new record for any Order at auction.

The 45-carat diamond, measuring 130mm, and weighing 161g, was created to demonstrate the power and wealth of the Russian royals in the early 19th century.

Rosie Innes-Ker, head of Russian art at Sotheby's in London, said she was "absolutely thrilled" with the selling price. The badge, described as a "highly important" piece, would return to Russia with the unnamed buyer.

"It is of great historical importance and we are delighted to say that it was acquired by a Russian private collector who will return it to Russia," she said. The sale represents an increasingly strong market in Russian art and jewellery which has seen a great rise in prices during the past 12 months. There has been a 32 per cent rise in sales this year compared with the total made in the first six months of last year. In 2007, sales of Russia art reached £89.6m.

Commenting on the growth, Jo Vickery, senior director at Sotheby's, said: "This demonstrates the continued growth in this strong market, further supported by an influx of new buyers and collectors from Russia and the CIS," she said.

A spokesman added that, between 2003 and 2007, sales of Russian art had attracted more than 100 new buyers each year from across the globe with buyers from 58 different countries.

The Order bears a finely enamelled figure of the saint on a cross with diamond borders and the letters, SAPR, supported by a crowned double-headed eagle formed of diamonds, with ruby eyes and gold beak and claws.

In spite of its use by the tsar and his family for state occasions, it was given to various foreign rulers who had shown particular favour to the Russian empire.

The badge was among a number of sumptuous pieces commissioned during the reign of Paul I or in the early years of his successor, Alexander I, and has had an illustrious history, worn by the good and the great of Russian nobility.

When Alexander's favourite sister and confidante, the grand duchess, Catherine Pavlovna, married Duke George of Oldenburg in 1809, the tsar conferred the diamond insignia upon the newly married Duke and gave him the added title of "Imperial Highness". It has since then, been passed down the Tsar's descendants.

The badge's sale comes at the end of three days of Russian artwork auctions at Sotheby's.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Life and Style
tech

Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

Extras
indybest
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Executive - Software

£20000 - £25000 per annum + 55,000 OTE + benifits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Software Sa...

Argyll Scott International: 2x Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton; £400p/d

£400 - £420 per day: Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?