Napoleon’s Hat Sells for $2.1 Million at Auction in France

A black felt bicorn hat belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte offered for 1.9 million euros, or $2.1 million, at an public sale in Fontainebleau, France, on Sunday, fetching the best worth ever paid for one of many 19th-century French emperor’s hats.

“There is something a bit mystical about it,” mentioned Raphaël Pitchal of the French public sale home Osenat. “It has a powerful image.” Two bidders have been at the public sale in person, and one referred to as in over the cellphone, he mentioned. The winner, a French collector, asked to stay nameless.

The sale comes simply earlier than the brand new Ridley Scott movie “Napoleon,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, hits theaters on Wednesday.

The hat, which auctioneers had anticipated would promote for between €600,000 and €800,000, is one in all some 20 hats mentioned to nonetheless exist of Napoleon’s 120 two-cornered army gown hats that he wore as a part of his on a regular basis uniform. Just 4 or 5 of these are in personal collections and the remainder are displayed in museums or held by the French authorities, Mr. Pitchal mentioned.

The one which offered on Sunday had been a part of a group of Napoleon objects belonging to a French businessman, Jean Louis Noisiez, who died final 12 months.

In 2018, a light and torn black hat attributed to Napoleon and mentioned to have been dropped on the battlefield at Waterloo offered for greater than $400,000. In 2014, one in all Napoleon’s hats offered for greater than $2 million, the earlier file, to Kim Hong-Kuk, the South Korean founder and chairman of the Harim food conglomerate; it went for about 5 occasions the asking worth. That hat got here from a group belonging to Monaco’s royal household.

Other auctions of Napoleon memorabilia in latest years have included portraits, letters, his cologne bottles, a knife used in a foiled assassination try, a gilded crib, a bejeweled searching rifle and even his stockings. An engagement ring belonging to Napoleon’s wife, Josephine, went for $1.2 million in 2013.

Napoleon, an outsider from Corsica who rose to rule France in 1799, has lengthy fascinated collectors world wide. The first public sale of his belongings occurred in the years after his demise in 1821 on the island of Saint Helena, the place he was dwelling in exile, and the worth of Napoleon relics has since risen, Mr. Pitchal mentioned. Most of the 130 objects belonging to him at the public sale on Sunday offered, however a couple of unsold objects, together with a sword belonging to Josephine and a pistol, can be auctioned off once more, he mentioned.

Napoleon rose to energy after the French Revolution in 1789. He turned the French emperor in May 1804 and led France’s restoration after the revolution. Napoleon briefly conquered a lot of Europe in wars throughout the continent earlier than he was defeated in the spring of 1814 by a coalition that included Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria.

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