BOSTON – Remarkable documents and other ephemera directly tied to royalty are featured in RR Auction‘s February 9 Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale. Boasting more than 1,000+ lots, the auction is highlighted by royal autographs from the Tudor era to the present day — including King Henry VII, King Henry VIII, Catherine the Great, the Romanov princesses, Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Charles. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.
A high point of the Royal section is a one-page King Henry VIII signed document. The vellum manuscript, signed “Henry R” and dated October 30, 1533, is a warrant ordering Lord Windsor, Keeper of the Great Wardrobe, to deliver collars and chains for his dogs and costumes for royal leash-boys.
According to Alison Weir’s book Henry VIII: The King and His Court, ‘Henry’s favourite pets were his dogs, especially beagles, spaniels, and greyhounds; the latter were considered a particularly noble breed. Over the years, the King sent hundreds of such dogs; all ‘garnished with a good iron collar’ as gifts to the Holy Roman Emperor and the King of France. Henry’s own dogs wore decorative collars of velvet — permitted only to royal dogs — and kid [leather], with or without Tourettes (spikes) of silver and gold; some were adorned with pearls or the King’s arms and his portcullis and rose badges. His dogs’ coats were of white silk, and the dogs had their fur regularly rubbed down with a ‘hair cloth.’ Sixty-five dog leashes were found in Henry’s closet after his death.’ As illustrated by the present document, the King Henry’s hounds were generously outfitted, and the royal leash boys were equally handsomely attired. The canine-centric royal document carries an estimate of $35,000-$40,000.
Another powerful lot with a royal connection is a document signed by Catherine the Great. The most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, Catherine reigned from July 9, 1762 until she died in 1796 at the age of 67. The one-page manuscript in Cyrillic, signed “Ekaterina” and dated August 8, 1769, concerns itself with an untranslated consular appointment to the papal states. It is signed prominently at the conclusion by Catherine the Great, and countersigned by Prince Alexander Golitsyn. The lower portion retains the original large white paper seal. It is professionally and archivally cloth-matted and framed and is estimated at $5,000-$7,000.
Also on offer is a portrait photograph of the four Romanov Grand Duchesses, signed in Cyrillic by Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. This original vintage matte-finish portrait of the four doomed daughters of Czar Nicholas II was taken in 1913 for the Romanov Tercentenary. Signed photographs of this type are extremely rare, as the girls were all executed by Bolshevik revolutionaries at Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918 at the ages of 22, 21, 19 and 17, respectively. The pictorial artifact is estimated at $60,000-$80,000.
Another featured lot is a photograph signed by both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles. The exceptional color satin-finish photo of the queen and her eldest son, seated with members of the Privy Council at Buckingham Palace on March 27, 1981, is signed on the original mount in fountain pen, “Elizabeth R, 1981” and “Charles.” This very Privy Council meeting was significant; it marked the Queen giving Prince Charles consent under the Royal Marriages Act to marry Lady Diana Spencer, who was not in attendance. The signed photograph is estimated at $5,000-$6,000.
While not strictly fitting the royalty theme, a lot that absolutely demands mention is a handwritten receipt for a performance by Johann Sebastian Bach. The exceptionally rare handwritten receipt was signed twice by Bach as Kapellmeister at St. Thomas Church to acknowledge payments for the annual performance of a funeral motet on St. Sabina’s Feast Day. The receipt is estimated at $300,000-$500,000.
The Fine Autograph and Artifacts auction from RR Auction will conclude on February 9. For more information, visit www.rrauction.com.
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