OK, so I was rewatching Octopussy
the other day and a question arose to which I can't find a logical answer so I thought I would ask it here. Strangely, it's never occurred to me before, but there it is.
It concerns the entertaining auction scene. I was wondering who puts the real Faberge Easter Egg, 'The Property Of a Lady', up for auction? The Service art expert Jim Fanning surmises that the vendor is a Russian and the Minister of Defence thinks it might be a Russian payoff for Soviet operations in Britain, like in the source short story.
We know the seller has to be a Russian, presumably either Lenkin or General Orlov himself. The problem is why does Orlov put the real egg up for public auction in London at Sothebys for Prince Kamal Khan to bid on and win when he could just give him the egg when he visits him at the Monsoon Palace in India? After all, the real jewellery from the Kremlin is Orlov's price for Khan allowing an atomic bomb to be smuggled onto the American airbase in Berlin under the guise of Octopussy's Circus.
Why instead go through with a potentially risky public auction raising awareness by MI6 of the sale of the real egg? Is it to make it all look legitimate as a bona fide sale rather than Orlov risking smuggling the egg out of the Kremlin Art Repository? But then Orlov is already smuggling the real jewellery out to Khan in India and replacing it with the fakes made by Khan.
It's the fact that it's put up for auction that I don't really get. Why go through this risky procedure knowing that MI6 already is aware of the existence of the fake egg and may be monitoring auctions as a result? I know it makes for a more dramatic story to have the auction of course and have Bond identify Khan as the buyer as in the original short story with Piotr Malinowski. But from a practical point of view it makes less sense to me as Orlov is smuggling the jewellery out anyway, so why sell the egg rather than include it with the jewellery he is smuggling out to Khan in India anyway? Unless I've missed sonething selling the egg (to appear like a legitimate transaction) risks making MI6 aware of the sale, as well as the Kremlin of course!
Another possibility is that Khan is selling the egg himself to recoup the money and is forced to buy it back when the fake egg is stolen, as we know he's a seller as opposed to a buyer.
Orlov's 'I hope we can reach him in time' perhaps confirms this?
I may have this all wrong of course and Orlov may just need Khan to buy the real egg back from selling it to replace the stolen fake one in the Kremlin Art Repository. Perhaps that makes more sense actually?
Another thought that comes to mind is that Orlov put the real egg up for sale before the fake one was stolen and now needs it back. Although, he could withdraw it from sale in this situation I suppose.
Damn, but Octopussy
is a complex film! What a headwrecker!
Any help would be appreciated. I've heard that @Benny
is an authority on OP so perhaps he or someone else can help me out with this question? :)