This is a very interesting officer’s promotion patent. The document comes from the reign of König Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1795-1861). Friedrich Wilhelm IV was the eldest son of König Friedrich Wilhelm III (1770-1840), Prussia’s king during the tumultuous Napoleonic War Period shortly after the 19th Century’s turn. When Friedrich Wilhelm III died in 1840, Friedrich Wilhelm IV ascended the throne. His reign was difficult and involved revolution in 1848, which he initially repressed. He then changed his mind, embraced it and became its leader! Later, in 1857, Friedrich Wilhelm IV suffered a stroke that left him physically and mentally incapacitated. Due to his continued ill health, his younger brother Wilhelm I became Prussia’s regent in 1858. Friedrich Wilhelm died in 1861 and left no heir, so Wilhelm I assumed the throne and became King of Prussia, and later, Germany’s Kaiser.
King Friedrich Wilhelm IV personally signed this document. The promotion patent was awarded to Friedrich Albert Schönn zu Stettin. The document measures 9 ¼” x 14″ when unopened, and 14″ x 18″ when opened, making it four-sided. All the information, however, appears on the first page. Its bottom boasts Friedrich Wilhelm IV’s bold and sprawling black-ink signature, as well as a Hohenzollern Eagle-embossed seal. The document was prepared and signed in 1855 at Charlottenburg’s royal castle. Another court official’s signature appears below Friedrich Wilhelm’s, but I cannot identify it.
Our document is some one-hundred-sixty years-old! Some foxing effects its right side and bottom, but the document’s body is clear and easily read. It is one of the oldest documents of its kind that we have ever offered.