Russian emperor's cigarette case to bring $305,000 to Bonhams

A spectacular cigarette case presented to Emperor Nicholas II by his wife, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, will headline The Russian Sale on June 5 at Bonhams London.

Russian Emperor Nicholas II cigarette case
The case was produced by Faberge's workmaster August Holmstrom

The lavender Faberge guilloche-enamel case with heraldic eagle was given to the emperor to mark the birth of his second daughter, Grand Duchess Tatiana, on May 29, 1897. It is expected to sell for up to £200,000 ($305,025), as a touching gift of love between the doomed couple.

The case was moved to storage in the Kremlin Treasury in 1917 for safe keeping, but was later nationalised as part of the imperial treasures. It is believed to have been de-accessioned during the Soviet era and was subsequently bought by an American businessman in Moscow in 1931.

With Russia's economy on the rise since the collapse of communism, the market for imperial collectibles is particularly buoyant. A pair of Russian imperial vases sold for $2.7m recently in a private deal ahead of a planned auction.

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