Lenin-authored telegram auctions for $78,000 at Christie's

A fascinating telegram by exiled communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, addressed to French socialist politician Henri Guilbeaux, has auctioned for £49,857 ($78,005) in London.

Dated April 16, 1917, the telegram details Lenin's intentions to return to Russia following the events of the February revolution, which involved mass demonstrations and armed uprisings.

Lenin auction
Whether as a security measure or in order to connote a sense of close friendship, the historic telegram was sent under Lenin’s birth-name, Ulyanov

The February revolution would be followed later that year by the October revolution, which brought Bolshevik rule, ushering in radical changes to Russia's socio-political landscape.

Lenin, who met Guilbeaux while the pair were exiled in Switzerland, implores his friend to join him on his journey. Lenin writes: "We leave tomorrow noon for Germany. [Swiss communist Fritz] Platten accompanies the train. Please come immediately. We will cover expenses. Bring [French writer] Romain Rolland if he agrees in principle."

Although neither Guilbeaux nor Rolland joined Lenin on his voyage to Russia, a group of 30 revolutionaries accompanied the then-political theorist from Bern, Switzerland, through Germany and Sweden, to Russia.

The historic telegram was sent under Lenin's birth-name, Ulyanov.

Following his return to Russia, and the subsequent October revolution, Lenin would be hailed master of the Russian empire. The train journey he took across Eastern Europe is therefore understood as one of the most significant turning points of the 20th century. The present telegram represents a rare document pertaining to this event, the effects of which we are still feeling today.

We currently have a range of fascinating historical documents in our inventory, including this Henry VIII autographed petition.

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