Author Topic: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own  (Read 74718 times)

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Offline Almedingen

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Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« on: February 14, 2004, 01:01:44 PM »
I thought it would be interesting for everyone to tell about the Romanov antiques/souvenirs that they own.

When I was in St. Petersburg back in 1995, I was in a book store/antique store and I told them that I was interested in anything they had on the Romanovs.  You can imagine my astonishment when they brought out a coronation book for Nicholas and Alexandra.  The book is a small, paper, pamphlet-type of book about 20 pages in length and conains many rare photos of all the members of the royal family at the time of the coronation.  

Bob, if you want me to scan this in so we can put it on your website, let me know.  I think people would enjoy looking at it. :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Almedingen »

RobMoshein

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http://www.alexanderpalace.org/wedding/
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2004, 03:41:31 PM »
I am fortunate to have a few interesting items.

The first is a pristine copy of the actual program for the wedding of Nicholas and Alexandra. This program was not a souvenir item per se, as it was intended for use by those attending the wedding itself.  It is a deep red leather binder with the Imperial Eagle embossed in gold outside, and lined in light blue moire silk.  Inside, in French and Russian, is a detailed schedule of the events of the wedding, telling participants where to gather, the order of procession, the exact events of the day in chronological order, and the order of reception of guests afterwards and where guests were to wait to be received. You can read my translation of the French section here:
http://www.alexanderpalace.org/wedding/

The second item is an original program from the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow from the night of Nicholas II's Coronation command performance of "La Vie Pour La Tsar" and "La Perle". It is a white leather binder with a beautiful full color Imperial Eagle embossed on the outside, and again lined in moire silk, with a red silk ribbon place marker. It is filled with beautiful lithograph engravings by leading artists of the day.

I also have two original menus from the Coronation festivities, a dinner menu from the first night, and a supper menu from the last night, both again with oustanding lithograph engravings. The first night menu is in a Pan Slavic Gothic revival style, the other is a rather "Victorian" rendering of Moscow and the Kremlin.

Offline Forum Admin

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2004, 08:54:58 AM »
Both Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodrovna kept a book in which they recorded every piece of jewelry they owned, including the date and place they got it and from whom.  His jewel book has been published, so if your cross is indeed recorded in the book, it was likely to have been his. If not, it would otherwise be very difficult to establish a genuine provenance for the piece.  

Offline Almedingen

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2004, 09:15:02 AM »
Konstantin,

I'd like to hear more of your stories.


Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2004, 01:43:32 PM »
The jewel book should not be too hard to find. I have seen it in used book stores, remainder shelves and plenty of web sites [amazon, bookfinders, half.com,etc.
Also, I would like to read more stories of your grandfather's adventurs as a diplomat in the Soviet era. Fascinating.
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2004, 09:29:49 AM »
It is true that the Communist authorities gave presents of the former posessions of the Imperial family and their jewels to people, institutions and governments.  They also took many, many things for themselves.  This 'looting' by the communists of things for their own personal use started right after the revolution and continued for decades.  In Russia I saw a very long and detailed list of items taken/stolen/expropriated by communist/Soviet officials from the Alexander Palace that was compiled by museum workers and sent to the security organs for action.  You can imagine what must have happened to the people who wrote the report....

As we know it ibeen reported the sister of Trotsky claimed to own a blue diamond ring that used to belong to the Grand Duchess Tatiana.

Konstantin - further information from your relative would be most appreciated!

Bob

Offline Sarai

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2004, 10:34:03 AM »
Konstantin,
I have a copy of the afore-mentioned "jewel book" (The Jewel Album of Tsar Nicholas II) and have looked through it in order to find the items that you have mentioned. I couldn't find a gold ring, but there are two gold crosses shown.

The first, listed as No. 20, has the earliest date recorded in the book, and the inscription next to it reads: "From Apapa. 1879." "Apapa" was Nicholas's maternal grandfather, King Christian IX of Denmark. The book notes that this is "a six-pointed cross." The second gold cross, No. 33, has the following inscription written next to it: "From Uncle Paul and Alix. 4th June 1889." Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich was the youngest son of Tsar Alexander II, and Alix was his wife, the Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna. This cross was received as a gift on the occasion of their wedding.

If you'd like, I can e-mail you a picture of the pages in the book containing the drawings of these two crosses to see if any one of them is the one your grandfather was given. However, keep in mind that Nicholas only recorded the jewelry he owned in his jewel book until the year 1913. So if they do not happen to match, even though it would be harder to prove the claim that it actually belonged to Nicholas, it would still be possible if he received it after 1913 and thus went unrecorded.

Offline masha

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2004, 09:28:54 PM »
Konstantin!

I just remembered a description of the last Tsar’s baptismal cross that was given by his youngest sister, Grand Duchess Olga in The Last Grand Duchess by Ian Vorres pp. 21-22 :
Even Nicky was once so hungry that he committed a sacrilege… Every child of the Romanov family had a gold cross given it at its baptism. The cross was hollow and filled with beeswax. An infinitesimal relic of the True Cross was embedded in the wax.  ‘…He opened his cross and ate the contents – relic and all. Later he felt very ashamed of himself but admitted that it had tasted ‘immorally good.’ I was the only one who knew about it…My eldest brother’s sacrilege did not shock us at all. I just laughed, and later whenever we had something nice to eat we would whisper to each other, ‘It’s immorally good,’ and nobody knew our secret.”
If your cross opens and is hollow, then you are on to something big! But, even if it does not meet that description, it could still very well have been in the possession of the imperial family where it once adorned a wall or night table. Hope this helps you – and all the best!
Masha

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2004, 11:35:05 AM »
Tatiana had a collection of antique crosses - a few months ago one of them from the collection was on sale on Ebay.

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2004, 09:26:57 AM »
Konstantin:

The problem you face is that you must prove the piece's origin before it would accepted as having belonged to Nicholas II.

This is not always easy!  I hope that you have found it.

Bob

Luke T.

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2004, 10:28:20 PM »
While my momento is not rare, it is an incredible conversation piece.  

I have an enameled beaker, otherwise known as the Cup of Sorrow, which were handed out after the Coronation festivities at Khodinka field.  

I purchased it in London in 1993 for 5 pounds.  


Offline masha

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2004, 01:23:37 AM »
Konstantin - all i can say is wow!!!!!

As Bob says, you still have a ways to go up the hill to verify that it was worn by the Tsar or if indeed it was his baptismal cross - as all the royal family were given these, so it could have belonged to another member of that big family, or it could have been one of a number in stock for future Christenings. But still, what a rarity. Forgive me for asking this, but my eyesight is very bad - were you quoted $98 thousand for it? Just making sure. In any event, I am very happy for you, Konstantin!!

Masha

Offline masha

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2004, 08:34:33 PM »
Dear Konstantin

To me on a personal level $98,000 is alot of money, I mean we paid that much for our first house - but for something like what you have, I would say that it should be worth at least that much. I would also caution you on sending anything that valuable anywhere - take it personally. Also, i would suggest you find a number of opinions, starting with some of the experts at some of the better known auction houses - such as Sotheby's and Christies. Morover, check with some of the big Jewellers - like Cartier. In other words, I'm NOT trying to disuade you from seeking expert advice in Russia (far from it) but being a research professional, I say that one always seeks out more than one source to verify accuracy. Another way to is to check your local library for any books about anitque hallmarks. I truly wish you all the best!
masha
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by masha »

Offline Nick_Nicholson

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2004, 08:46:48 AM »
Dear Konstantin et al.

I was the Russian Specialist at Christie's in New York for several years, and I am afraid that probably no one, including the researchers at the Hermitage or the Diamond Fund of the Russian Federation (and certainly not the experts at Christie's and Sotheby's) will be able to help you confirm the provenance.

If the piece was the baptismal cross for the heir, there might be a bill in the archives of His Majesty's cabinet for a piece if it were ordered new for the Tsarevitch.  

Unless you have complete documentation on the piece, from its earliest bill (with a description), to the presentation of the piece to your grandfather (again with an accompanying description) it will be impossible to prove that the pieve belonged to Nicholas, or inded, any member of the Imperial Family.

Best,

Nick Nicholson
Nick Nicholson
New York City

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2004, 10:06:41 AM »
Those crosses were pretty common in Orthodox families. I still have mine-somewhere. And it had nothing to do with the Romanovs ! In the case of the Romanovs, if they came  directly from the Palace, they probably had stocks of them.
A priest I know once even made the comment "If every sliver of every one of those crosses wre put back together, it could probably rebuild Noah's ark!".
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.