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Tsarina Alexandra Rare War Dated LS Mentioning French

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Tsarina Alexandra Rare War Dated LS Mentioning French

Lot 0002 Details

Description
Alexandra of Russia Czarina

Tsarina Alexandra Rare War Dated LS Mentioning French Red Cross Brooch


2pp letter in French signed by Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (1872-1918) as "Alexandra" at the top of the second page. The elegant signature measures 4.25" x 1.25" alone. Signed at Tsarskoye Selo, the imperial summer palace, on 18/31 January 1915. The dual dating of the letter reflects both the Old Style Julian calendar that the Russians still used, as well as the New Style Gregorian calendar that Western Europe employed. On cream watermarked bifold paper inscribed overall in a beautiful secretarial hand. Expected light paper folds and one minor closed tear along a crease, else near fine. 8" x 10.75".


Accompanied by the original transmittal envelope and companion diplomat's letter, the former bearing a gorgeous red wax seal embossed with the Russian imperial coat of arms. Provenance: The lot was described in an early twentieth-century French auction catalog listing here included.


Tsarina Alexandra thanked fellow war volunteer Pauline d'Harcourt, Countess d'Haussonville (1846-1922) just four and a half months after the start of World War I. The Countess headed up an auxiliary committee of the Société de Secours aux Blessés Militaires (SSBM), an antecedent organization of the French Red Cross.


Translated in full, with untouched spelling inconsistencies:


"Tzarkoe Selo, 18/31 January 1915.


Madame the Countess d'Haussonville,


I received your letter as well as the charming jewel that accompanied it.


This jewel [depicting] the arms of the allies is for Me a symbol of the ties that unite Us in Our common task, to relieve the suffering of the valiant defenders of the fatherland.



I beg you to receive and to transmit to the Ladies of the Committee of Aid to Wounded Soldiers My sincerest thanks for your delicate thought[fulness] as well as My best wishes for the accomplishment of your eminently humanitarian work.


[I pray] That God keeps you in his holy care.


[signed] Alexandra."


By more closely examining the diplomat's letter that accompanied Alexandra's thank you note to the French Countess, we get a better sense of what the "bijou aux armes des alliés" looked like. The 1p TLS from Paris dated February 20, 1915 appears on "Ambassade Impériale de Russie" letterhead, and was signed by veteran Russian diplomat Alexander Izvolsky (1856-1919) as "Izvolsky" at lower right. Izvolsky had most famously served as Russian Foreign Minister between 1906-1910, during which time he negotiated important alliances with both Japan and Great Britain.


Izvolsky wrote in part:


"Madame the Countess,


You have duly wanted, in the name of the French Society of Aid to Wounded Soldiers, to offer to Her Majesty the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna a gold brooch decorated with the arms of allied countries.


Very sensitive to this delicate attention, Her Majesty deigned to order me to attach the thank you letter to these lines..."


The Société de Secours aux Blessés Militaires was the oldest and largest of three antecedent charitable agencies that merged in 1940 to form the French Red Cross. The SSBM was established in 1864 by Henry Dunant. The Comité des Dames, of which the Countess was president, was an executive committee of the SSBM comprised mostly of Catholic royalists from aristocratic families. The Countess d'Haussonville served as its president between 1907-1922. In 1920, the Countess would receive the Légion d'Honneur in acknowledgement of her war work.


Alexandra's brooch probably incorporated the flags of different Allied countries in a colorful and patriotic display. The pin would join Alexandra's already extensive jewelry collection, which, along with her celebrated Faberge eggs, was estimated at a $50 million valuation in 1917 currency. Alexandra's jewelry had been gifted to her by family members on birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. The tsarina cherished her jewelry but seldom wore anything publicly except her ubiquitous strand of pearls. Some of the closely guarded imperial jewels had been sewn within the lining of the empress' and grand duchess' clothing and corsets during the Royal Family's 1917-1918 imprisonment; its presence was only revealed when the executioners' gunshots ricocheted off the bodies.


The gift from the Société de Secours aux Blessés Militaires recognized Alexandra's substantial contributions to the Allied war effort. The empress had thrown herself into war-related charity work after September 1914. The Empress converted the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo into a military hospital, and personally patronized some 85 hospitals in the Petrograd (modern day St. Petersburg) area alone. The tsarina also financed ambulances, bath cars, and portable "field churches." Alexandra completed two months' hospital training and eventually received her war nursing certificate. She visited hospitals daily to converse or pray with patients, and occasionally assist with surgeries. The tsarina's two eldest daughters, Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, also volunteered.


The tsarina was ill in December 1914 and again in January 1915, when this letter was dictated to the Countess d'Haussonville. Her zealous slate of war duties threatened her already frail health, and she stopped actively volunteering by 1916. After the Russian Revolution, Alexandra and the rest of the imperial family were put under house arrest. They were executed at Ekaterinburg on July 17, 1918.


This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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Tsarina Alexandra Rare War Dated LS Mentioning French

Estimate $2,400 - $2,600
Nov 05, 2019
Starting Price $800
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0002: Tsarina Alexandra Rare War Dated LS Mentioning French

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Est. $2,400 - $2,600Starting Price $800
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Lot 0002 Details

Description
...
Alexandra of Russia Czarina

Tsarina Alexandra Rare War Dated LS Mentioning French Red Cross Brooch


2pp letter in French signed by Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (1872-1918) as "Alexandra" at the top of the second page. The elegant signature measures 4.25" x 1.25" alone. Signed at Tsarskoye Selo, the imperial summer palace, on 18/31 January 1915. The dual dating of the letter reflects both the Old Style Julian calendar that the Russians still used, as well as the New Style Gregorian calendar that Western Europe employed. On cream watermarked bifold paper inscribed overall in a beautiful secretarial hand. Expected light paper folds and one minor closed tear along a crease, else near fine. 8" x 10.75".


Accompanied by the original transmittal envelope and companion diplomat's letter, the former bearing a gorgeous red wax seal embossed with the Russian imperial coat of arms. Provenance: The lot was described in an early twentieth-century French auction catalog listing here included.


Tsarina Alexandra thanked fellow war volunteer Pauline d'Harcourt, Countess d'Haussonville (1846-1922) just four and a half months after the start of World War I. The Countess headed up an auxiliary committee of the Société de Secours aux Blessés Militaires (SSBM), an antecedent organization of the French Red Cross.


Translated in full, with untouched spelling inconsistencies:


"Tzarkoe Selo, 18/31 January 1915.


Madame the Countess d'Haussonville,


I received your letter as well as the charming jewel that accompanied it.


This jewel [depicting] the arms of the allies is for Me a symbol of the ties that unite Us in Our common task, to relieve the suffering of the valiant defenders of the fatherland.



I beg you to receive and to transmit to the Ladies of the Committee of Aid to Wounded Soldiers My sincerest thanks for your delicate thought[fulness] as well as My best wishes for the accomplishment of your eminently humanitarian work.


[I pray] That God keeps you in his holy care.


[signed] Alexandra."


By more closely examining the diplomat's letter that accompanied Alexandra's thank you note to the French Countess, we get a better sense of what the "bijou aux armes des alliés" looked like. The 1p TLS from Paris dated February 20, 1915 appears on "Ambassade Impériale de Russie" letterhead, and was signed by veteran Russian diplomat Alexander Izvolsky (1856-1919) as "Izvolsky" at lower right. Izvolsky had most famously served as Russian Foreign Minister between 1906-1910, during which time he negotiated important alliances with both Japan and Great Britain.


Izvolsky wrote in part:


"Madame the Countess,


You have duly wanted, in the name of the French Society of Aid to Wounded Soldiers, to offer to Her Majesty the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna a gold brooch decorated with the arms of allied countries.


Very sensitive to this delicate attention, Her Majesty deigned to order me to attach the thank you letter to these lines..."


The Société de Secours aux Blessés Militaires was the oldest and largest of three antecedent charitable agencies that merged in 1940 to form the French Red Cross. The SSBM was established in 1864 by Henry Dunant. The Comité des Dames, of which the Countess was president, was an executive committee of the SSBM comprised mostly of Catholic royalists from aristocratic families. The Countess d'Haussonville served as its president between 1907-1922. In 1920, the Countess would receive the Légion d'Honneur in acknowledgement of her war work.


Alexandra's brooch probably incorporated the flags of different Allied countries in a colorful and patriotic display. The pin would join Alexandra's already extensive jewelry collection, which, along with her celebrated Faberge eggs, was estimated at a $50 million valuation in 1917 currency. Alexandra's jewelry had been gifted to her by family members on birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. The tsarina cherished her jewelry but seldom wore anything publicly except her ubiquitous strand of pearls. Some of the closely guarded imperial jewels had been sewn within the lining of the empress' and grand duchess' clothing and corsets during the Royal Family's 1917-1918 imprisonment; its presence was only revealed when the executioners' gunshots ricocheted off the bodies.


The gift from the Société de Secours aux Blessés Militaires recognized Alexandra's substantial contributions to the Allied war effort. The empress had thrown herself into war-related charity work after September 1914. The Empress converted the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo into a military hospital, and personally patronized some 85 hospitals in the Petrograd (modern day St. Petersburg) area alone. The tsarina also financed ambulances, bath cars, and portable "field churches." Alexandra completed two months' hospital training and eventually received her war nursing certificate. She visited hospitals daily to converse or pray with patients, and occasionally assist with surgeries. The tsarina's two eldest daughters, Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, also volunteered.


The tsarina was ill in December 1914 and again in January 1915, when this letter was dictated to the Countess d'Haussonville. Her zealous slate of war duties threatened her already frail health, and she stopped actively volunteering by 1916. After the Russian Revolution, Alexandra and the rest of the imperial family were put under house arrest. They were executed at Ekaterinburg on July 17, 1918.


This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

WE PROVIDE IN-HOUSE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE!

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