Savoy sale: Prestigious Italian royal heritage items set for auction

A cup adorned with the royal family of Savoy's coat of arms is displayed in a showcase ahead of sales at Geneve Encheres auction house
A cup adorned with the royal family of Savoy's coat of arms is displayed in a showcase ahead of sales at Geneve Encheres auction house Copyright Fabrice Coffrini/AFP or licensors
By Saskia O'DonoghueAgnes Pedrero with AFP
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An upcoming auction, set to take place at Genève Enchères from 18 September, will pull back the curtain on one of the most famous dynasties in all of Europe.


Royal delight: Savoy heritage for sale as auction offers a look inside the private lives of the Savoy dynasty

Royal enthusiasts will be thrilled with the news that a wide range of pieces, previously belonging to the Savoy dynasty, are to go under the hammer at a Geneva auction house next week.

Objects ranging from two motorcycles - owned by the ‘rock’n’roll’ prince, Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, grandson of the last king of Italy - to delicate 18th century cups will go on sale, both online and at the Genève Enchères auction house from 18 September

More than 200 precious pieces from the former Geneva home of Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy and his wife Marina, Emanuele Filiberto's parents, are estimated to draw in between 100,000 and 150,000 Swiss francs (or €104,000 to €156,000).

"We have historical souvenirs including a 19th century service made for a ball given by Queen Victoria in the City Hall in London, as well as ‘much more pop things’ like Bulgari or Van Cleef & Arpels pieces”, Cyril Duval, a partner of the auction house, tells AFP.

“One motorcycle… belonged to Emanuele Filiberto, a 20th century rock'n'roll prince, with tattooed arms, who particularly liked to ride motorcycle riding with Johnny Hallyday” Duval adds.

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP or licensors/Geneve Encheres
Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy posing with an Indian Sport Scout 750cc motorcycle expected to fetch thousands at the auctionFabrice Coffrini/AFP or licensors/Geneve Encheres

Love story

He brushes off questions over value, saying instead that the collection was more about "falling in love".

The collection includes historical memorabilia and pieces from the Savoy family’s old villa which is in Vésenaz, near Geneva.

The grand house was home to Emanuele Filiberto as he grew up.

His father, Vittorio Emanuele, is the current head of the House of Savoy which reigned over a unified Italy from 1861 to 1945.

Born in 1937, he was banished from the country at the age of 9, along with all the male descendants of the royal house after the monarchy was abolished in 1946.

Cyril Duval poses holding a plate adorned with the coat of arms of the royal family of Savoy next to household items ahead of the saleFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP or licensors

Now 86 years old, Vittorio Emanuele has sold their Vésenaz villa for another home in the upscale Swiss Alps resort of Gstaad.

“[The] sale allows collectors to have some of the objects they may have dreamed of when seeing them in magazines or on screens,” says Cyril Duval, explaining how the auction came about.

Among the other lots on sale are numerous pieces linked to the heritage of the Savoy family, including coats of arms as well as modernist statues removed from their former home.

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