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Friedrich Wilhelm II (b. 1744, r. 1786-1797),
The nephew of Frederick the Great, he was born at Berlin, 25 September 1744. He married at Charlottenburg, in 1765 his first cousin Elisabeth Christina Ulrike (1746-1840) fourth daughter of Karl I, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, and had one daughter Friederike Charlotte Ulrike Katharina (1767-1820) who married in 1791 Prince Frederick, second son of George III, King of Great Britain and Ireland. Friedrich Wilhelm II secondly married Friederike Luise (1751-1805) daughter of Ludwig IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, and they had five children. A pleasure-loving monarch, Friedrich Wilhelm II preferred to leave affairs of state to his ministers.
Friedrich Wilhelm III (b. 1770, r. 1797-1840)
Born at Potsdam, 3 August 1770, he married in 1793, at Berlin, Luise Auguste Wilhelmine Amalie (1776-1810), daughter of Karl, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The royal couple had five sons. Allied with the Tsar against Napoleon under the instigation of his wife, the legendary, strong-minded and astute Queen Luise of Prussia, King Friedrich Wilhelm III upon his defeat at Jena found his territories overrun by both his former ally and his former enemy. At the Treaty of Tilsit the Tsar had awarded himself Poland while Napoleon took the lands west of the Elba. However at the conclusion of hostilities Prussia was in a far stronger position with a modern army and state under efficient leadership, and the groundwork had been laid for reforms which would further consolidate the kingdom's status.
Friedrich Wilhelm IV (b. 1795, r. 1840-1861)
A popular Crown Prince, Friedrich Wilhelm married in 1823 at Berlin, Elisabeth Luise (1801-1873), daughter of Maximilian I Joseph, King of Bavaria. It was a time of reform throughout Europe; at Prussia's initiation nearly every German state had agreed to join the Customs Union, which served to greatly increase Prussia's influence. Not a natural reformer, he preferred to make Berlin a centre of learning, but occasioned in part by a revolution which was put down by troops loyal to him, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV created the Prussian House of Lords among other parliamentary reforms. In the move which followed to create a German Empire with the King of Prussia at its head, he refused the Imperial Crown. In 1857 he became incapacitated due to a stroke, and his brother Wilhelm became Regent. He died at the palace of Sansoucci in 1861.
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