Friday, July 19, 2024

Napoleon Hat Sells For Record $2.1 Million

A bicorne hat believed to have belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte sold for a record 1,932,000 euros ($2.11 million) at the Drouot auction house in Paris on Sunday.

It was initially estimated at 600,000 to 800,000 euros. The price beat the 1,884,000 euros paid for another Napoleon hat at Drouot in 2014, an official at the auction house said.

“One million four hundred fifty thousand (euros) to my left, 1.5 million, we have 1.5 million in the room, 1.5 million for Napoleon’s hat. We’re leaving it at 1.5 million for this major Napoleon symbol, I’m selling for 1.5 million (before fees), no regrets, sold,” auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat said as he brought down the hammer to applause.

The hat, known as a bicorne, is in Napoleon’s trademark colours – black, with the French flag’s colours blue-white-red as insignia – and attracted collectors “from the world over”, auctioneer Jeane-Pierre Osenat said, declining to give the identity or nationality of the eventual buyer.

The hat was last owned by businessman Jean-Louis Noisiez, who died last year.

The final price was more than double the estimate of 600,000 to 800,000 euros ($655,00 to $873,000), and nearly four times the reserve price, said the auction house based in Fontainebleau, south of Paris.

Napoleon is believed to have owned around 120 such hats in total, most of which are now lost.

Napoleon wore the felt hat towards the middle of his time as emperor, which lasted from 1808 to 1815, according to the auction house.

Unlike most other people at the time, Napoleon wore his hat sideways, which gave him a distinct silhouette easily recognised by his troops in battle.

Napoleon rose to prominence during the French Revolution, becoming a key figure in the revolutionary wars. He served the republic as first consul, and had himself crowned as emperor in 1804.

He was exiled in 1815 after losing the battle against British and Prussian forces at Waterloo and died in 1821 on the island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean.

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