January 10, 2006
The Emperor's cigarette case
You know what it's like. You open the wrapping paper and there inside is the present-from-hell - covered in gilt and terrifically tacky – the last thing you want on your mantelpiece. The only thing to do is to say 'thank you, very much', wrap it up again, and give it away to someone else the next time a major event comes around.
That's what must have happened when Ethiopia's Emperor Haile Selassie received this glitzy cigarette case from a party of passing Belgians. He wrapped it up again and handed it over to the next dignitary to cross his path – H.R.H. The Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, KG.,KT.,KP, the UK representative at the Ethiopian Emperor's coronation in 1930.
Seventy-six years later, Prince Henry's relatives found it at the bottom of a drawer and decided there was only one thing to do – to pass it on again.
And so here it - in Christies' latest auction catalogue – yours for as little as £2,000. Click on the link for more on the sale and the case.
Lot Description: HAILE SELLASSIE'S BELGIAN CIGARETTE CASE
Sale Title: Property from the Estate of H.R.H. The Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, KG.,KT.,KP.
Location: London, King Street Sale Date Jan 26, 2006 - Jan 27, 2006
Lot Number: 183 Sale Number: 7300
Creator: MARK OF DELHEID FRÈRES, BRUSSELS, MID 20TH CENTURY, STAMPED 18K
Lot Title: HAILE SELLASSIE'S BELGIAN CIGARETTE CASE
Estimate: 1,500 - 2,000 British pounds
Description: Curved rectangular and with horizontal reeded bands, the cover applied with a diamond set monogram 'HS' below a crown above, further applied with a lion crest, marked on rim. 5 in. (13 cm.) wide. The monogram is that of Emperor Haile Sellassie of Ethiopia (1892-1975)
Provenance: Presented to Prince Henry by Emperor Haile Sellassie of Ethiopia (1892-1975) on the occasion of the later's coronation, 2 November 1930.
Lot Notes: In October 1930 Prince Henry attended the coronation of Emperor Haile Sellassie in Abyssinia, now Ethiopia. The crowning of Ras Tafari as 'King of Kings, Elect of God, Conquering Lion of Judah, Emperor of Ethiopia' was was an occasion without Royal precedent. Never had a Royal mission visited such an extraordinary and quixotic place; during his slow train journey to Addis Ababa, Prince Henry is described as eating meals 'always about fourteen courses with local chiefs along the way.' and in a letter to his brother, George VI, the Prince wrote that 'one has to keep very wide awake at every function as they have a peculiar way of altering things as they go along.'
Posted by aheavens at January 10, 2006 11:46 AM