Russian imperial tsar letters auction with 829% increase on estimate

A remarkable series of letters sent by Russia's tsars that reveal state secrets and intimate details of the imperial court have sold with impressive results in France.

The items sold through Hotel Des Ventes auction house in Paris on December 9.

Alexander II. Since the collapse of communism, Russia's wealthy are turning to collecting, with imperial items some of the most sought after

The collection, offered in a single lot, was valued at $66,000-88,000, but soared to an 828.7% increase on estimate to sell for $832,950. With Russia's economy growing, its wealthy middle class are quickly turning to collecting and imperial items are among the most sought after.

Comprising 230 letters in French, English and Russian, the collection was sent by tsars Nicholas I (1796-1855) and Alexander II (1818-1881) to Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, daughter of Nicholas II and Alexander II's sister. Nikolaevna later became Queen Consort of Wurttemberg.

The exact content of the previously unpublished letters is unknown, but the auction house states that they take the reader into the "heart of Russian imperial life and political intrigue".

The auction house holds the record for letters sent by Nicholas II sold at auction, after four missives from the tsar sold for $129,000 in Geneva in December 2012.

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