A treasure trove of valuables belonging to Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia who abdicated following the 1917 Revolution, has been found in the Swedish government archives.
The items were deposited in the Swedish Embassy in Saint Petersburg in 1918 by Nicholas’s aunt Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna for protection following the end of the monarchy. They were then smuggled to the Swedish capital where they lay untouched and forgotten for decades until the foreign ministry relocated its archives in 2008.
The items were returned to relatives last week, the government said on Thursday.
Krister Wahlback, a spokesperson for the ministry told Swedish radio, “We found a large number of valuable objects that had been deposited at Sweden’s legation in Petrograd in November 1918 by a representative for Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Elder”.
Pavlovna died in 1920, neglecting to inform her family of the location of the items. Included among the treasure were cufflinks made by Swedish jeweller Bolin and around 60 jewel-encrusted cigarette cases made by Faberge from gold and silver. These items are thought to be valued at USD 2.8 million.
The foreign ministry oversaw the return of the items to relatives of the Romanov family in 2008. The items are due to be auctioned at Sotheby’s of London in November.