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Sweden finds hidden jewels of Russia's last tsar

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10:30 CEST+02:00
Sweden has uncovered a treasure trove in its government archives of valuables belonging to the family of the last Russian tsar. The items have been turned over to relatives, the government said on Thursday.

The aunt of the last tsar, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, wanted to hide the precious items following the 1917 Russian revolution and deposited them at the Swedish embassy in Saint Petersburg in 1918.

They were later smuggled to Stockholm, and lay forgotten for decades. They were found last year when the foreign ministry moved its archives.

"We found a large number of valuable objects that had been deposited at Sweden's legation in Petrograd in November 1918 by a representative for Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Elder," Krister Wahlbäck of the Swedish foreign ministry told Swedish Radio.

The objects, including some 60 jewel-encrusted gold and silver cigarette cases and cufflinks made by Faberge and the Swedish jeweller Bolin, are estimated to be worth around $ 2.8 million.

Maria Pavlovna died in 1920 without telling her family that the items had been smuggled to Sweden, the station said.

The Swedish foreign ministry returned the items to the relatives of the last tsar, the Romanov family, and they are due to be auctioned off by Sotheby's in London in November, a Sotheby's official told the station.

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