March 20, 2019
These enamel cups were made to celebrate the coronation of Nicholas II of Russia in 1896; and, traditionally, handed out to the people as free souvenirs. On the morning of the 18th May 1896, over half a million revellers gathered on the Khodynka Meadow (an army training ground found on the outskirts of Moscow). A rumour swept through the crowd that the cup contained a gold coin. There was a stampede and in the confusion over a thousand people were trampled to death, many of them trapped in the network of military trenches and drainage ditches which crisscrossed the field.