I am kicking off a long series of videos from the Rock Island Auction Company, and my backdrop this time is a set of deer antler mounts called the “Imperial Twins“. These two deer were from a joint hunt with Kaiser Wilhelm I and Emperor Franz Joseph in 1873. The antlers are original, but the original bronze deer heads were damaged beyond repair at some point and replaced with a pair of amazingly done wood carvings (using the originals as a guide). They make a really cool backdrop, and I know if I don’t explain them, I will get a whole ton of questions in the subsequent videos.
If you are interested in trophy mounts, you can see a whole bunch like this that are part of a collection being sold by RIA, all from German aristocracy prior to WWI. In their catalog, look under the “Royal Hunt” special category.
Are Franz Ferdinand mass produced trophies worth anything? 😉
Franz mass produced trophies all on his own…
That’s Franz Joseph antlers, not his misguided nephew’s, Franz Ferdinand’s. Not all Franzes were created equal. The ‘Old Prohazka’ was an excellent shot, avid hunter and outdoorsman, roaming Tirol mountains for days on end to find and probably shot one deer – and his trophies are legitimate. More so this one, as this one has a political meaning to it – sealing the renovation of the European German-speaking nations’ alliance. A very significant alliance, as just seven years before, in 1866, the two nations were at war with each other.
His Imperial Majesty’s moronic nephew was quite another story, a primordial, mass-murdering, butchering psycho. Not a carnivore predator, who killed his lunch, but a mere psychopat, whose interest was in killing – whatever, however, wherever. The evidence is still very much left in his castle at Konopiste, Czechia, 40 miles south of Prague, which seems to burst at seams with all the antlers, heads, hides, feathers and whatever remnants of once living animals from five continents, like he would have walked out just yesterday. By the way, the most bone-chilling exhibit there for me (and don’t get me wrong – I am a carnivore myself, and wouldn’t mind getting hands dirty killing and skinning my own dinner once in a while) is a glass cabinet the size of a large washing machine, with shelves ca. 1 inch high, each divided into 1.5×1.5 inch squares, each square occupied by a tooth of a best deer slained by the Kronprinz at any given occasion. Mind you, not one tooth from each deer he killed, but one out of the best of a 100 or so felled on one day, oftentimes using his beloved Schwarzlose M.7 MG as a hunting weapon, shooting long bursts at deer herded in front of his booth. Each tooth is accompanied by a note giving a date, place, antler point count and weight of the animal. The last of these, just one shelf short of filling the cabinet completely, was shot from the palace balcony in the morning, just prior to proceeding to the railhead for embarkation onto the Kaiserzug scheduled for Sarajevo.
I’m sure the shots fired at Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip echoed with a loud sigh of relief throughout the Dual Monarchy – and at the court at the most…
So which would you choose, if you had to fight in World War I with any historically available set of antlers?
Probably moose. 🙂
It seems that whenever and wherever these were reproduced, whoever did the reproduction didn’t do their research and got the wrong double-headed eagle on Franz Joseph’s antlers. ^__^
When dealing with auction houses, remember the old saying: “Buy the item, not the story.”
Brian, the double headed eagle on the FJ’s antler is indeed the correct coat od arms of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy – the one big crown above both eagles is the Austrian Imperial crown (since 1809), each eagle has it’s own crown, one for the King of Austria and one for the King of Hungary (all the crowns were “carried” by the same person – Franz Joseph in this case). On the wings of the eagles there are the coats of arms of the ancestral lands/crowns of each respective country under the control of each half of the Austrian Empire. Also, there are historical accounts of this hunt, so i do not see the possibility of this being a reproduction.
Aljosa, this is the coat-of-arms on Franz Joseph’s antlers:
This is the coat-of-arms of the Austro-Hungarian empire:
Note the central element.
Here is the lesser coat of arms of the Russian Empire:
Note the central element and the arms arranged on the wings. These match the one on Franz Joseph’s antlers, but do not match the double-headed eagle of the Austro-Hungarian Empire … close, but no cigar.
Also note the coin on Emperor Wilhelm I antlers:
Why would a medal from this era have the marking “DEUTSCHER REICHSADLER” on it? Coinage from this era is marked: “DEUTSCHES REICH”
I say “reproductions” based on the auction’s own description: “the carved mounts are very good as later production items (the originals, damaged beyond repair, were directly referenced in their construction)” Unfortunately, they do not reveal when they were made, where they were made, who made them, or where the originals that were referenced are located.
I saw these at R.I.A and realized some of the fabulous grandeur of the fantastic age of European royalty, now long gone.
It’s odd that you consider those “deer” antlers; in Germany the “Dammhirsch” is consider an elk species, not part of the deer group. Mainly important as deer were huntable by the the common man while elk was reserved to nobility.
Mu, aren’t all elk technically part of the deer genus and family?