Based on Dr Valentin Skurlov’s research, the opulent design of the present snuffbox suggests that it was one of the more expensive snuff boxes amongst those purchased from Friedrich Koechli by the Imperial Cabinet during this specific period. Between 1904 and 1908, only one box was bought for more than 500 roubles (the average cost of a Koechli snuff box) that matches the description of the present snuff box. It was presented to Vice Admiral Alexander Rodionov (1849-1910) on 22 April 1905 and cost 900 roubles.
A comparable gold presentation box with the diamond cypher of Emperor Alexander III was sold at Christie’s, London, 28 November 2016, lot 232. Another comparable gold box with the diamond cypher of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna was also sold at Christie’s, New York, 16 April 1999, lot 56.
We are grateful to Dr Valentin Skurlov for his assistance with the research of the present lot.