Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Faberge brolly's auction success

Faberge umbrella
The umbrella handle was crafted by the House of Faberge's Michail Perchin

A rare Faberge umbrella which lay undiscovered for years in a house in Devon has sold for 17,500.

The umbrella was with some old walking canes which were given to the unnamed owner by her mother-in-law when she moved home.

When they were uncovered during a spring clean, the owner was going to donate them to a charity shop.

However because of the umbrella's unusual handle she showed it to a jeweller who recognised it.

Jethro Marle said the handle was made by Michail Perchin, a craftsman at the House of Faberge who worked closely with the famous Russian jeweller himself in the 19th Century to revive the technique of guilloche enamelling.

Bowenite globe

Peter Carl Faberge is best known for the gold and diamond eggs crafted for the Russian tsars.

"This is a very good example of that work - this one is perfect," Mr Marle said.

He said there are many fake Faberge cane handles and to find one that is genuine is rare.

"Once you have handled a few and been given guidance, you don't mix them up - the fake ones are obviously fake," he added.

The green ball at the end of the handle is made of bowenite, a jade substitute used because it felt warmer in the hand.

The vendor said she was "gobsmacked" when the umbrella went under the hammer at Bearnes Hampton and Littlewood in Exeter and sold for 17,500.

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