Silver sailboat plundered from Holocaust victims’ sold

Intricate table decoration, sold at Bonhams, is the only piece from the Eggers family's collection to resurface after the war.

A intricate 17th-century silver table decoration with a tragic history was sold at an auction in London on Wednesday, where it far exceeded brokers’ expectations.
The nef, a small ornament shaped like a ship, was once part of a collection of 150 silver works stolen by the Gestapo from a Jewish couple upon their arrest in Vienna in 1944. Fanny and Ernst Egger died along with their entire family in German concentration camps not long after their arrest.
The piece sold Tuesday was the only piece of the Eggers’s collection ever to have resurfaced after the war. The rest are believed to still be in private collections.
The Bonhams auctioneers agency had estimated that the piece would fetch £20,000-£25,000 ($32,000- $40,500), but ended up selling for £37,000 ($60,000).
The lot was a rather intricate work of art. A sailboat on four wheels which stands at a little over 30 centimeters tall, the piece features detailed renderings of waves and dolphins on its hull, as well as four miniature sailors firing guns off the decks and two other seamen climbing a rope ladder to the ship’s crow’s nest.
The ship resurfaced after the Eggers’s step-grandson Count Ferdinand Orssich acquired it from a friend who had unwittingly bought the piece of Holocaust plunder at an auction in December.