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Russian imperial family’s letters set for auction on December 9 in Geneva

November 20, 2013, 15:20 UTC+3 20

Geneva Auction House organizes Russian auctions for a fourth year straight

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Emperor Nicolas II of Russia, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Tsarevich Alexei, and Count Vladimir Borisovich Frederiks (Adolf Andreas Woldemar Freedericksz) passing by the Chudov Monastery

Emperor Nicolas II of Russia, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Tsarevich Alexei, and Count Vladimir Borisovich Frederiks (Adolf Andreas Woldemar Freedericksz) passing by the Chudov Monastery

© TASS chronicles

GENEVA, November 20 (Itar-Tass) - Unique correspondence by members of the Russian Imperial Family will be auctioned in Geneva, the director of Geneva Auction House, Bernard Piguet, told Itar-Tass on Tuesday. The House has organized Russian auctions for a fourth straight year, and their fame has obviously spread across the Atlantic Ocean.

The auction due on December 9 would offer a total of 230 letters addressed to the daughter of Nicholas I, Olga, who lived in Germany after marrying Charles I of Wrttemberg in 1846.

“In these letters Emperor Nicholas I, her brother Alexander II and other members of the Imperial Family tell Olga about what was happening in her home country. Since they corresponded actively and frequently, these letters look more like diaries and so are of great value,” Piguet said. The correspondence has been divided into fifteen lots, with many letters taking up to ten pages.

“Historically, this correspondence is the main lot at the next auction,” Piguet said. The letters were presented for sales by the widow of their previous owner - a captain of the U.S. Army, whom the army newspaper Stars and Stripes sent for a stint to Europe in WWII, he added. The officer who took a great interest in history returned to the US with a collection of letters that long remained in a case in his room and were discovered by his widow several years after his death purely by chance.

The bidders will be able to choose from a total of 246 lots, in particular 33 photographs of the family of Alexander III. Other lots are two porcelain vases manufactured in the Imperial porcelain factory in 1849, a snuffbox adorned with diamonds that Nicholas I gave as a gift to Greek Prince Antonio Komuto, silverware, porcelain sets, Russian coins, medals and orders.

Piguet is sure that Russian auctions successfully conducted in Geneva since 2010 have been a good promoter for the auction house. Pieces for the auctions were mainly derived from the private collection of a Swiss citizen Ferdinand Thormeyer (1858-1944), who taught Tsesarevich (crown prince) Nicholas Alexandrovich and Grand Duke Georgy Alexandrovich French and literature for three years. His heirs sold at auction Thormeyer’s collection of photographs, documents, and personal items of the Imperial Family, with the final price always exceeding the initial estimate.

As for the upcoming auction, Piguet is cautiously estimating the lots at “more than 1 million of Swiss francs” ($1.1 million).

“The results are impossible to predict now. Everything will depend on bidders’ interest,” Piguet said.

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