A silver-gilt and enamel cigar case, A. Postnikov, Moscow, 1881
The title of Supplier to the Court of the Grand Dukes was first introduced during the reign of Alexander II. Strict regulations applied to the use of the warrant, its form and configuration, which included the initials of a Grand Duke on an ermine mantle. The title was awarded twice a year, at Christmas and Easter, and to receive it the firms had to undergo a rigid application and selection process, one of the conditions being an eight-year period of continuous supply to the Court. The title was a highly prestigious one and served as advertisement for the company. Grand Duke Vladimir and Maria Pavlovna had several suppliers covering a wide range of goods and services including dress and shoe makers, jewellers, perfumers, milliners and tobacco producers. They set the fashion in St. Petersburg and closely followed European trends.
Andrei Postnikov, who made the present lot in 1881, became Supplier to the Court of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich shortly after he was awarded the title of Supplier to the Imperial Court in the late 1870s.