GENEVA: Porcelain figurines, a white faux-leather sofa and a foosball table: these are among the items in a House of Savoy auction, providing a rare glimpse into the everyday life of royals.
More than 200 objects are going under the hammer this week, drawn from the former Geneva home of Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy — the son of the last king of Italy, Umberto II — and his wife Marina.
Royal aficionados may be interested in a delicate 18th century tea cup, a modernist game of chess, or two motorcycles owned by the couple’s 51-year-old son, Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy.
A portion of the lots are being sold off online until September 18, while others will feature in an in-person auction two days later hosted by the Geneve Encheres auction house.
In all, the objects being sold by the couple are expected to fetch between 100,000 and 150,000 Swiss francs ($112,000-$168,000).
But Cyril Duval, a partner at Geneve Encheres, said the value estimates were not really important, since the collection was more about “falling in love”.
This auction, he said, “makes it possible for collectors to obtain certain objects they may have dreamt about after seeing them in magazines or on the screen”.
The collection comprises of historical memorabilia and some household items from the villa the Savoy family had built in the 1970s in Vesenaz, on the outskirts of Geneva. Vittorio Emanuele is the 86-year-old head of the House of Savoy, whose family was forced to leave Italy after the monarchy was abolished in 1946.
Among the items for sale is “a 19th century dinner set used during a ball hosted by Queen Victoria in London City Hall”, Duval said.
Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2023