Author Topic: Autographed Romanov Books  (Read 4833 times)

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Offline s.v.markov

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Autographed Romanov Books
« on: May 22, 2007, 08:16:33 AM »
A piece on the 'Duplicate Books' thread recently set me thinking ~ just how many of the relatives, staff and associates of the IF signed copies of the books they wrote about them? We know GD Marie signed copies of the first edition of 'A Princess in Exile' (1932) ~ indeed, the fact that a special page was inserted for her signature might mean she signed EVERY copy of the first edition! And how many was that, I wonder? 2,000 maybe? I don't know. Of course she needed the money by that time, so the incentive of a genuine signature may have persuaded more people to buy. Similarly, I can imagibe GD Alexander must have signed copies of 'Once a Grand Duke', and 'Always a Grand Duke'. although I have never seen any. Does anyone know of any other family members or servants who autographed their books? I'm sure Anna Viroubova, Lili Dehn, Sophie Buxhoeveden and all the others would have taken great pleasure in signing copies for their friends and family! I wonder if any of these autographed copies have survived?

Going one step further away from the family, I have seen copies of 'The Last Grand Duchess' nicely signed by Ian Vorres, and a 1932 copy of 'Dissolution of an Empire' signed by Meriel Buchanan. Her father also signed copies of his two-volume work 'My Mission to Russia'. I've seen copies of Irina Galitzine's 'Spirit to Survive' with hand-written dedications and signatures by the author as well. Capt. Evan Cameron signed copies of his 'Goodbye Russia' in 1934. It describes how he and his crew assisted Russians in distress by giving them safe passage after the Revolution. Finally, my own favourite is a 1927 copy of 'Last Days at Tsarskoe Selo' on the fly-leaf of which the author's wife (Countess Benckendorff) has written a charming dedication to her grand-daughter, and signed it on her late husband's behalf.

A signature or dedication certainly gives a book a more personal touch, and an even greater pleasure to own. Can any other forum members shed any further light, or give us any more examples?

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2007, 08:53:25 AM »
I have seen a copy or two for sale of both the Dehn and Buxhoeveden books with presentation autographs.

Alixz

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2007, 05:39:11 PM »
A Vorres autographed copy of The Last Grand Duchess was selling for close to $500!

Autographs are always in demand and always increase the price of the book if it is put up for sale.


Offline Ena

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2007, 08:15:48 PM »
Perhaps off topic, but I'm seriously curious.  How would one go about checking the authenticity of an autograph in a book?

Offline s.v.markov

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2007, 07:08:35 AM »
Sometimes it's obvious they're genuine, when there is a special page for the signature. For example, 1932 copies of 'A Princess in Exile' have a page at the front with 'This copy of the first edition of 'A Princess in Exile ~ Further Memoirs by Marie, Grand Duchess of Rusiia' has been autographed by the author'  followed by the hand-written signature.  Ian Vorres signed the first 500 copies of the 1985 edition of 'The Last Grand Duchess' and they are authenticated by a numbered stamp next to the signature.

It can be more tricky to establish the authenticity of signatures and dedications when they are personal 'one-offs'.  Members of this forum helped me discover the identity of Countess Benckendorff's grand-daughter, who was the first recipient of my 1927 copy 'Last Days at Tsarskoe Selo' (referred to in my earlier post).

Usually it's clear that a signature is genuine (or not!), and 'instinct' and 'experience' tell you when to be suspicious. I always deal with reputable booksellers, and I always ask for a 'second opinion' from someone whose knowledge I respect. There are hundreds of people on the AP who will offer good advice, and I've never been let down yet!

I hope some more autographed editions may come to light via this thread. 

Alixz

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2007, 07:53:59 AM »
I have a question.  Which books would be considered more valuable?  The ones autographed en mass for the original sale(with the added page)  or the books that have been signed and dedicated to a particular person?

By the way, the $500 Vorres autographed The Last Grand Duchess was a 1964 first printing and the seller said that is was signed in black marker by the author.

Obviously, I didn't buy it but I wanted a 1964 edition that wasn't a ex-library and I think I ended up paying about $50 for a clean tight copy.  The book sold for $4.95 in 1964.   :o

Offline s.v.markov

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2007, 04:24:14 PM »
Personal dedications to particular people, plus an author's signature, are far more desirable, in my opinion, and more valuable because they are unique. When an edition is signed 'en masse', it is either to entice more people to buy and thus provide increased revenue for the author ( as in the case of GD Marie), or to buck up sales of a book that was already over 20 years old when the 3rd edition came out (as in the case of Vorres). Now if only GD Olga Alexandrovna had lived just a few years longer and actually signed a few copies of Vorres' 1st edition in 1964, that would really be something worth having.....It is true, though, that any book signed by the author will always command a higher price than unsigned ones.

I remember seeing  a signed copy of 'The Family Albums' by Prince Michael of Greece at an auction in London once, and the reserve price was ridiculously high, with the result that it went to another dealer rather than a person with a genuine interest in the book and its provenance.

I always hope to find something special inscribed on the fly-leaf of books that I see in second-hand stores, but it is a rare surprise these days to find something really interesting.

I wonder if other people have a 'dream inscription' which they hope might one day turn up on a book they see? Here's one from me, which AP members will understand, in neat hand-writing on a copy of 'Thirteen Years at the Russian Court' (English version, Hutchinson, 1924). It might well be in French when I find it :

'For Alexandra, in appreciation of the love and devotion you showed towards the Imperial Family we both served in good times and bad, and in gratitude for all the years we have spent together since those days,  Your Pierre'

One day, perhaps.......

julia.montague

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2007, 05:19:02 PM »
This is not Romanov, but I have one of her books signed by Princess Viktoria Luise :)

Offline Belochka

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2007, 08:53:17 PM »
I have a question.  Which books would be considered more valuable?  The ones autographed en mass for the original sale(with the added page)  or the books that have been signed and dedicated to a particular person?

My understanding is that books that are not dedicated to the owner are far more valuable. Such books have perpetual ownership and are therefore transferable from one person to another. Mass signed books which thank or acknowledge the owner are only valuable to that owner.

I have acquired quite a number of author inscribed books over the many years, two of which include signatures from the Romanov family.

However for something rather unusual I do have is Rasputin's daughter, Matrena autograph in one of her three (different) books that is in my collection.

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Offline newfan

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2009, 03:51:48 AM »
I have a copy of GD Alexanders book "Once a grand duke"..his signature is very small,not addressed to anyone

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2009, 07:00:56 AM »
I have a question.  Which books would be considered more valuable?  The ones autographed en mass for the original sale(with the added page)  or the books that have been signed and dedicated to a particular person?

My understanding is that books that are not dedicated to the owner are far more valuable. Such books have perpetual ownership and are therefore transferable from one person to another. Mass signed books which thank or acknowledge the owner are only valuable to that owner.


That's probably true, UNLESS the book is signed to a person of historical note. If, for example, Helen Keller inscribed a book to Eleanor Roosevelt it would be doubly valuable -- first for it s signature and second for its provenance.
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Offline Ilana

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2009, 12:00:15 PM »
I have the 3 volume Queen Marie of Romania books MY LIFE and all three volumes are signed by the Queen, but dedicated to someone...not anyone I know :).
So long and thanks for all the fish

Offline allanraymond

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2009, 02:22:05 PM »
Ilana

Not in the same league as your three volume set, but....

I have Cupid and the King signed "twice" by Marie Christine,Princess Michael of Kent. The first signature is to a named person "with admiration and gratitude for your advice over ...." from the author Marie Christine,. The second signature is on the next page over Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent.

Allan Raymond





I have the 3 volume Queen Marie of Romania books MY LIFE and all three volumes are signed by the Queen, but dedicated to someone...not anyone I know :).

Offline Marlene

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Re: Autographed Romanov Books
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2009, 04:45:51 PM »

I think every copy of Education of a Princess was signed by Marie - I have an ex library copy and it was signed.   I also have books signed by Viktoria Luise.  I have a signed copy of Louis Ferdinand's mempoirs.   My best one, though, is a book, HRH Prince Henry of Battenberg,  which was privately printed after his death and the inscription reads: To dear Horatia Stopford from her affte VRI March 6, 1897.  Inside the book - the program for the Henry's funeral service at Westminster Abbey and a few other things ... and the person who sold me the book had not even noticed the inscription ... I didn't until I got in the mail as I had ordered it from a catalog ... I paid $25.00 for it ... The book is in great condition ... in the early 90s, I had it appraised at over $1000. 

I think you can guess who VRI was   :)


I have a question.  Which books would be considered more valuable?  The ones autographed en mass for the original sale(with the added page)  or the books that have been signed and dedicated to a particular person?

My understanding is that books that are not dedicated to the owner are far more valuable. Such books have perpetual ownership and are therefore transferable from one person to another. Mass signed books which thank or acknowledge the owner are only valuable to that owner.


That's probably true, UNLESS the book is signed to a person of historical note. If, for example, Helen Keller inscribed a book to Eleanor Roosevelt it would be doubly valuable -- first for it s signature and second for its provenance.
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