The Russian Sale at Bonhams
on Wednesday 5th June in London, features a stunning Imperial Romanov cigarette case of historic interest estimated to sell for £150,000 to £200,000.
This magnificent cigarette case of lavender guilloche enamel with heraldic eagle was purchased by the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, and presented to her husband Nicholas II on May 29, 1897, on the occasion of the birth of their second daughter Grand Duchess Tatiana.
Sophie Law, Director of Bonhams Russian Department comments: There can be few items of recent Russian history that bear such a weight of sentiment a gift of love between a doomed royal couple on the occasion of their daughters birth. It is made with superb craftsmanship by Faberge, but more importantly it commemorates three people whose lives were to end violently bringing to an end an historic era. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a Romanov item that passed from hand to hand from Czarina to Czar and would have been in daily use by Nicholas II.
This important Imperial jewelled silver gilt and enamel cigarette case being sold by Bonhams was produced by Faberge, workmaster August Holmstrom, c. 1897.
From the Collection of Emperor Nicholas II, St. Petersburg
it was moved to storage in the Kremlin Treasury in early 1917 for safe-keeping.
Nationalized as part of Imperial treasures after October 1917 and probably de-accessioned (made available for sale) in late 1920s it was
acquired by American businessman in Moscow, at the Torgsin store on August 18, 1931 for 103 roubles. A copy of the original invoice is offered with the lot.
It is a happy coincidence that this sale coincides with the 400th anniversary of the Romanov royal dynastys ascent to power. The Romanovs ruled Russia for three centuries, until the Russian Revolution in 1917 when Nicholas II and all his immediate family were executed in July 1918 in Yekaterinburg.