Renovation workers have discovered a vast treasure trove of silverware and jewelry in a St. Petersburg mansion that once belonged to a noble family, the first such finding in Russia’s second city in the last thirty years, police said on Friday.
First reports of the treasure emerged on Thursday when workers stumbled on a previously undiscovered secret compartment between the second and the third floor of the building.
More than 1,000 valuable items, including silver flatware and porcelain were found there. The items date to the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Many of the items were wrapped in newspapers bearing dates from a few months before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. The find includes two documents belonging to Sergei Somov, alleged keeper of the trove, dating back to 1908 and 1915.
Intarsia, the company renovating the mansion, notified police about the finding on Thursday. The police believe workers uncovered the treasure several days earlier.
An investigation into the circumstances of the find is now underway, said Vladislav Kirillov, head of St. Petersburg police art and cultural property crime department.
“It will be most correct to transfer the findings to a museum,” he added. It is now unclear whether the collection will be handed to a museum or to heirs of Naryshkin family, who reportedly live outside Russia.
Experts will soon proceed to estimate the value of the treasure trove.