Born in 1888, Dr. Mikhail Klatchko was as an oral surgeon in St. Petersburg and a member of the tsar's Royal Guard. Finding himself abroad in 1914 when war broke out, Dr. Klatchko attempted to return to Russian via Asia and was interned on the German vessel Lutzow. He was freed when the Lutzow was captured by the Australian Royal Navy and volunteered for the Australian New Zealand Forces in Egypt. Near the end of the war, he accompanied the wounded back to Australia, where he eventually took up residence and married in late 1917. By the early 1920s, Dr. Klatchko and family had moved to Shanghai, where they lived in an apartment on the fashionable Bund and he resumed his oral surgery practice. Dr. Klatchko's apartment and office in Shanghai were lined with Russian art. His collection featured many works by Leon Bakst, whose sister Sonia had married Dr. Klatchko's brother, Max. Between the two world wars, Shanghai was home to a large White Russian exile community; it is estimated that by the late 1930s as many 25,000 Russians were living in the city.
Purchased by Dr. Klatchko in Shanghai in 1930, the punch set eventually traveled with his descendants to the United States. It was appraised by Hammer Galleries, New York, in a letter dated February 3, 1948. Nearly twenty years later, the punch set came to the attention of Marjorie Merriweather Post, who, in a letter dated November 12, 1965, made an offer to purchase it at a price of $20,000.