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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Napoleon’s Iconic Hat Fetches $2.1M at Auction of French Emperor’s Possessions


Auction of Napoléon Bonaparte’s Belts, Swords, and Personal​ Items Fetches $2.1M

Fontainebleau, Paris, France

PARIS‌ — A faded and cracked felt bicorne hat worn ⁤by Napoléon Bonaparte sold for $2.1 million at an auction Sunday of the French emperor’s belongings.

Yes, $2.1 million.

The⁤ signature broad, black hat — one of a handful still in existence that Napoléon wore when he ruled 19th-century France ‌and waged war in Europe — was initially valued at 600,000 to 800,000 euros ($650,000-$870,000). It was the centerpiece of Sunday’s auction in Fontainebleau of memorabilia collected ‍by a French industrialist who died last year.

But the bidding quickly jumped higher ⁤and⁢ higher until Jean Pierre Osenat, president of the Osenat auction house, designated the winner

”We are at 1.5 million (euros) ​for Napoleon’s hat … for this major symbol of the Napoleonic epoch,” he said, as applause rang out​ in the auction hall. The buyer, whose identity was not released, must pay 28.8% in commissions according to Osenat, bringing the overall cost to 1.9 million euros ($2.1 million).

While other‌ officers customarily⁤ wore their bicorne hats ‌with the wings facing ⁣front to back, Napoleon wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. The ​style — known as “en bataille,” or in battle — made it easier for his troops to ⁤spot their leader in combat. ​

The hat on sale was first recovered​ by Col. Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoléon, according to the auctioneers. The hat then passed through many ⁢hands before ⁤industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez acquired it.⁣

The entrepreneur spent more than a half-century assembling his collection ⁤of Napoleonic memorabilia, firearms, swords and coins before his death in 2022.‌

The ‍sale came days ​before the release of⁢ Ridley Scott’s film⁣ ”Napoleon”⁣ with Joaquin Phoenix, which is rekindling interest in the controversial French ⁣ruler.

Truth Media Network
Truth Media Network
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  1. Disagree with the extravagance. It’s absurd that millions are spent on an old hat while many people can’t afford basic needs. This shows the discrepancy between the rich and the poor. Is the hat going to feed the hungry or solve world issues? A big NO. There are far more valuable causes to invest such an astronomical figure in. Redistribution of wealth is essential for sure.


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