Lot 3138

Empress Elisabeth of Austria – a right-hand glove in black silk with a lace cuff, worn on the day of her assassination in Geneva on September 10, 1898

Orders & Military Collectibles until 1918 | A90m | Live auction | 521 Lots

Hammer price € 66,000

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The black silk glove with three reinforcing cords on the back of the hand. The cuff made of black lace, approx. 8 cm in length. The ends of the two lacing ribbons sealed in red wax onto the letter handwritten in ink by Count von Berzeviczy, chamberlain to the Empress, in which he declares (tr.): "I hereby confirm with my seal and my signature in my own hand that Her Majesty the Empress Elisabeth was wearing this very glove on her hand when she was assassinated on the 10th day of September 1898 and that I personally removed the glove from her dead body and kept it in remembrance. – That the comb was employed by Her Majesty when promenading and the cuff links (?)ducats were worn by Her Majesty when hunting, both of which I received from Her Imperial Highness Archduchess Valerie. Vienna, 1st day of October 1898 - Berzeviczy", along with an illegible title or rank. The glove and letter, together with the comb mentioned in the letter, and a posy of dried flowers all behind glass and in an unadorned, blackened wooden frame, appliquéd with a gilt imperial crown. Length of the glove approx. 28.5 cm. Dimensions of the frame 35 (including the crown 37) x 28.5 cm. Of the greatest historical significance.
General Albert Graf Berzeviczy von Berzevicze (1853 - 1936), chamberlain to Her Majesty the Empress, deputy steward of the imperial court and, according to the Empress' lady-in-waiting, Countess Irma Sztáray ("Aus den letzten Jahren der Kaiserin Elisabeth", p. 106), (tr.) "a man and soldier through and through, and a true, honest character to his very core [...]. The Empress was well-disposed towards him and trusted him implicitly. She never took offence if, on occasion, he expressed an opinion that conflicted with hers.". Count Berzeviczy had been extremely concerned, particularly at the Empress' plans to stay in Geneva and had warned her several times. Thereupon the Empress said to Countess Sztáray (tr.): "Tell Berzeviczy that his misgivings are simply preposterous. What harm could possibly come to me in Geneva?" (p. 206). On the day of her assassination, Count Berzeviczy was in Territet, the next leg of the Empress' journey, and returned to Geneva with the evening train on 10 September. At 10 pm that evening, Countess Sztáray, Count Berzeviczy and the Austrian ambassador in Bern, Count Kuefstein, placed the body of the Empress in a temporary coffin and held a vigil. When the approval for a partial autopsy of the Empress was received from Vienna around 2 pm the following day, it was attended by these three persons, two doctors and a public prosecutor.

Provenance: Albert, Prince of Thurn and Taxis (1867 - 1952), the eighth prince of Thurn und Taxis, nephew of Empress Elisabeth of Austria (the son of her older sister Helene in Bavaria, 1834 - 1890) and his wife Archduchess Margarethe Klementine of Austria. Unfortunately, it is not possible to establish when and on what occasion Count von Berzeviczy passed the glove and the comb given to him by Archduchess Marie Valerie onto the royal couple. On the death of Albert Prince of Thurn and Taxis in 1952, the mementos of Empress Elisabeth were bequeathed in this framed form to Franz Josef, the ninth Prince of Thurn and Taxis, and have remained part of the family estate to this day. Includes a confirmation of the provenance from the family.

Condition: II + Questions about the lot?

General Information

The auction starts on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021 at 10 am (CET). Lot no. 3001 - 3522. The pre-sale view will take place from 15 - 20 Nov. 2021 in our auction rooms at Bretonischer Ring 3 in 85630 Grasbrunn / Munich from 11 am to 5 pm (CET).