Last Emperor’s Stolen Medallion
Returned to Russia
Silver medallion that once belonged to the family of Nicholas II is returned to Russia
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US Ambassador to Russia John Bayerli returned to Russia a silver medallion of the last Russian Emperor’s family that had been stolen from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
Ambassador Bayerli told Russian officials that the medallion was discovered in the course of an Internet auction in Seattle, Washington by investigators from Russia’s Prosecutor General Office. Art experts confirmed the authenticity of the precious artwork, and the US Department of Homeland Security secured the piece before its trip back to Russia.
Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee said during Thursday’s handover ceremony in Moscow that the medallion’s recovery was possible due to close cooperation between Russian investigators and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the US Department of Homeland Security.
Aleksandr Kibovsky, head of the Russian Federal Surveillance Service for Cultural Heritage Protection, said the starting bid for the rare medallion was $500, “but that price would certainly increase to at least $5000” over the course of the auction, he added.
The silver medallion, which carries an engraving of Peter the Great, was delivered to the US embassy in Moscow in October of last year. It was among 221 exhibits stolen from the Hermitage, an event that made front-page news in the summer of 2006. The Hermitage has already recovered 34 of the pieces, according to the Russian Investigative Committee.
Markin also mentioned at the ceremony that the Russian Federation plans to sign a memorandum of cooperation with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the US Department of Homeland Security.