Explaining my Backdrop for the Next RIA Video Series

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.


    • @12L14,
      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…

  1. 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.”

  2. I saw these at R.I.A and realized some of the fabulous grandeur of the fantastic age of European royalty, now long gone.

  3. 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.

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