Empress Catherine the Great of Russia.  

In the aftermath of the death of Catherine II, in 1796, German and Dutch newspapers had published several ads inviting men of letters Europeans to participate in a poetry contest in the French language in homage to the Empress. The winner was to receive a gold medal and 25 ducats, both following silver medals.

  

The publication of the book, which appeared in 1798, was long and difficult. The medals were made in the city of Braunschweig and the engravings in Berlin. The parchment arrived in Venice and Paris, Golden powder of Amsterdam, the London paper.

This document (1798) of great value was (re)discovered in the collections of the     Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire de Strasbourg (BNU)   

(http://www.bnu.fr/)                                                                                     

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