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 daughter's 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. Nationalised 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 dynasty's 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.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com