A gold tobacco case of Greece’s first head of state, Ioannis Kapodistrias, was sold for a whopping €73,392 at an auction at Athen’s Zappeio Hall last Saturday by private auction house Vergos.
Its value had been assessed at €30,000-40,000.
The ornate case, shows a phoenix – the legendary bird rising from the ashes widely used as a symbol during Greece’s war of Independence – with a cross and the date 1821, and Kapodistria’s initials, I.A.K. on its base.
(Kapodistrias’ gold tobacco case was sold for €73,392)
It is said to have been made on order in 1826 by Genevan artisan J.F. Bautte.
A year later Kapodistrias, a former minister of foreign affairs under Russian Tsar Alexander I, became the first governor of independent Greece but was assassinated by political rivals in 1831.
Among other valuable items sold at the same auction was a silver pocket watch and a silver tray of Greece’s national poet Dionysios Solomos for €26,910 and €8,562 respectively.
(Solomos’ silver tray and pocket watch)
Both have engraved Solomos’ initials “Δ.Σ.” and the family’s coat of arms.
In addition to historical objects, another part of the auction was dedicated to 19th and 20th century artwork, including paintings from famed Greek artists Nikos Engonopoulos and Yiannis Moralis.
Founded in Athens in 1989, the Vergos auction house initially focused on rare books and manuscripts before expanding its activities in 2000 by entering the art scene centered around Greek and Philellenic works.