A black felt bicorn hat belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte bought for 1.9 million euros, or $2.1 million, at an public sale in Fontainebleau, France, on Sunday, fetching the very best value ever paid for one of many 19th-century French emperor’s hats.
“There’s something a bit mystical about it,” mentioned Raphaël Pitchal of the French public sale home Osenat. “It has a strong picture.” Two bidders have been on the public sale in individual, and one referred to as in over the cellphone, he mentioned. The winner, a French collector, requested 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 every of some 20 hats mentioned to nonetheless exist of Napoleon’s 120 two-cornered navy gown hats that he wore as a part of his on a regular basis uniform. Simply 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 bought on Sunday had been a part of a group of Napoleon gadgets 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 bought for greater than $400,000. In 2014, one in every of Napoleon’s hats bought for greater than $2 million, the earlier document, to Kim Hong-Kuk, the South Korean founder and chairman of the Harim meals conglomerate; it went for about 5 occasions the asking value. That hat got here from a group belonging to Monaco’s royal household.
Different auctions of Napoleon memorabilia lately have included portraits, letters, his cologne bottles, a knife utilized in a foiled assassination try, a gilded crib, a bejeweled looking 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 primary public sale of his belongings occurred within the years after his loss of life 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. A lot of the 130 gadgets belonging to him on the public sale on Sunday bought, however a couple of unsold gadgets, together with a sword belonging to Josephine and a pistol, might 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 within the spring of 1814 by a coalition that included Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria.