Emperor Ivan VI Antonovich of Russia, was born in August, 1740 to Duchess Anna Leopoldovna (niece of Empress Anna of Russia). Empress Anna, aged 47 in 1740 was in ailing health and without a clear successor to the throne. She wished to secure the line of her father, Tsar Ivan V (co-regent with Emperor Peter I) while simultaneously excluding any descendants of Emperor Peter I from ruling. To achieve this, Empress Anna adopted the newborn Ivan VI Antonovich and named him successor to the role of Emperor of Russia. Empress Anna died in October, 1740 leaving the eight month old Ivan VI as Emperor with a German noble (Ernst Johann von Biron) as regent. Biron acted as regent for a mere three weeks, before he was replaced by Ivan IV's mother. Just over a year into his reign, Elizabeth, daughter of Emperor Peter I rallied the Russian guard regiments and overthrew the government and ascended as Empress Elizabeth in December, 1741. Elizabeth had Ivan VI and his mother arrested and imprisoned. They were kept in increasingly secretive prisons, with Ivan VI isolated from his family. He was just four years old when he was sent to Kholmogory in northern Russia. There he remained for twelve years, seeing no one but his jailor. Rumors of his imprisonment spread, and he was transferred to a more secure location in 1756 where he was more rigorously guarded and even the fortress commander did not know the identity of the imprisoned Emperor. Emperor Peter III sympathized with Ivan VI, going so far as to visit him and seemed willing to help Ivan VI but was assassinated before he could aid him. When Catherine II ascended the throne, she put in place even more strict orders regarding Ivan VI that he was not to be educated by his guards and be referred to as "the nameless one". Finally, if any attempt was made to free him or relocate him (even with documentation from Catherine II) Ivan VI was to be executed immediately. Despite nearly twenty years of solitary confinement, Ivan VI was aware of his true identity as Emperor, and the knowledge of his presence in the prison spread to other officers in the garrison. An attempt was made to free him, which was quickly foiled due to the secretive orders issued by Empress Catherine II. The conspirators were executed alongside Ivan VI, and the young exiled Emperor was buried quietly inside the fortress. This grisly act secured Catherine II's position as Empress, and ended the decades of mental anguish Ivan VI endured. NGC AU-55.
Ex: Sincona AG Auction 12 10/13, lot# 1559.
Ex: World-Wide Coins of California Auction XLIV 11/03, lot# 326.
Ex: Leonid Soedermann Collection.
Estimate: $50000.00- $75000.00