While tensions have risen between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, when the two met in 2021 at a summit in Geneva, Putin came bearing gifts.
A very expensive gift.
Putin present Biden with a miniature Kholui lacquer writing set, valued at $12,000, according to a report published Thursday by the State Department’s Office of the Chief of Protocol.
Biden came with gifts, as well. He gave a pair of his trademark aviator sunglasses and a crystal sculpture of an American bison.
The report is part of an annual accounting on the gifts officials in the administration receive, The Washington Post reported.
Gifts of state are meant to be “enduring emblems of international cooperation and friendship,” the National Archives website explains. The Archives keep presidential gifts.
“All enrich the relations between two countries and their leaders. And each recalls a moment in history, when two nations — often separated by oceans or ideology — briefly clasped hands.”
Some of the gifts Biden and his wife received are less expensive than a $12,000 desk set, but are still pricey and are from those not considered US allies.
In June, Biden received a brass and lapis lazuli jewelry box, worth an estimated $1,150 from Abdullah Abdullah, who was then considered to be the number 2 in the Afghan government. And Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was given a carpet valued at $2,650 in March from Ghani, The Associated Press reported.
Most gifts are transferred to the National Archives, a requirement for any gift to a U.S. official valued at more than $415. If the recipient wants to keep the gift, they have the option of paying the estimated value of the gift.
The report listed gifts that Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff and other administration officials have received.
Here is a list of some of the gifts received:
- To Joe Biden from former United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson: Two dog bowls, two Atlantic wool blankets, ceramic cup and mug set, Devon Pens fountain pen accompanied by a bottle of Oxford blue ink, photographer of Frederick Douglass mural in Edinburgh. Estimated value: $536.20
- To Joe Biden from former German Chancellor Angel Merkle: Meissen tea set and a pen drawing of the president’s childhood home in Scranton, Pa. Estimated value: $780.00
- To Jill Biden from Mrs. Rula Ghani, former first lady Afghanistan: Silk carpet. Estimated value: $19,200
- To Jill Biden from Mrs. Kim Jung-Sook, first lady of South Korea: Painting on paper of flowers in a vase. Estimated value
- To Harris from Moon Jaein, President of the Republic of Korea: Celadon tea kettle with lotus motif. Estimated value – $990
- To Emhoff from Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India: Kashmiri silk carpet, hamper of Coffee. Estimated value $5,542.
Except for the drawing of Biden’s childhood home, the report lists the status of the gifts as “Non-acceptance, would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. Government.” The painting is on official display at the White House.
To see the report, click here.