The envelope for Alfred Nobel's will
A historical moment
On December 14, 1896, four gentlemen gathered in the notary department of Stockholm's Enskilda Bank at the house on Lilla Nygatan 27.
The reason was that since Alfred Nobel had suddenly passed away in San Remo on December 10, no valid will had been found. However, after a restless day of searching, the bank receipt had been found. Now, the will would be opened so its contents could be conveyed to those gathered at the deceased's Villa Nobel.
The individuals who met at the bank were Alfred Nobel's nephew Ludvig Nobel, his sister's husband Carl Ridderstolpe, and the notary at the bank's notary department, Bo Löfgren. In addition, Notarius Publicus Ferdinand Svensson had been hired, and he was the person who opened the envelope and wrote the protocol for the entire opening procedure, leaving no doubt about the authenticity of the will.
Through the meticulous protocol, we can follow the opening ceremony of this, perhaps one of the world's most famous and significant, wills. Notary Löfgren handed over an envelope sealed with three seals, which had been deposited on July 14, 1896, by Alfred Nobel, with the information that it contained his will. Then follows an exact description of the envelope itself, stating that on the address side it was written "D.N: 287 Testamente My Will A.Nobel" and on the back "A.Nobel" four times across the seams, as well as three wax seals "AN".
Next, the Notarius Publicus opens the envelope, takes out the will dated November 27, 1895, and makes a transcript of its content. Then he turns the envelope upside down, writes on the front that this is the envelope from which he took out the will, which he recorded in the protocol, and then signs and puts his official stamp on it. Obviously, the writing was done in duplicate, as the auction's protocol is marked "Duplett".
Finally, notary Löfgren read the will aloud and then took it back, along with its envelope, for further safekeeping at the bank. And the Notarius Publicus signs his protocols and puts his wax seal on them.
The authenticity of Alfred Nobel's will was never questioned, but its validity was. It is well known the legal battles that took place before Nobel's provisions for his prizes were finalized. The will itself was the central focus, not its envelope or the protocol regarding its meaning, which is why these were separated. The will eventually ended up in the safe of the Nobel Foundation, while notary Löfgren kept the envelope with the duplicate protocol as a memory of this, surely for him, unforgettable day in December. These unique historical documents have been preserved by his heirs until now.
The envelope will be sold during Important Winter Sale
Estimate 200 000 - 250 000 SEK, (17 900 - 22 400 EUR)
Viewing November 30 – December 5, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm
Opening hours Weekdays 11 am –6 pm CET, Weekend 11 am – 4 pm
Auction December 6 – 8, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm