Napoleon Bonaparte’s hat sells for €1.9m at Paris auction


Authored by Emily McGarvey and Vicky Wong

A hat that once belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte during his reign as Emperor of France in the 1800s was recently sold at an auction in Paris for a whopping €1.9m ($2.1m; £1.7m).

Napoleon - Figure 1
Photo BBC News

The black beaver felt hat with two pointed edges was worth around €600,000 to €800,000 (£525,850-£701,131).

The individual who purchased the hat remains unidentified.

According to experts in the field, the headpiece was a fundamental component of his personal style. Wearing it at an angle made it easy for others to identify him during skirmishes. He amassed a collection of roughly 120 bicorne hats over the course of his lifetime.

Nevertheless, it is believed that only 20 of them exist at present, with a majority being held in private collections.

The Napoleonic hat is up for sale alongside other historical items that were collected by a deceased businessperson.

According to the auctioneers, the ultimate treasure for experts is the hat.

The emperor positioned his hat with the corns running even with his shoulders, which is referred to as "en bataille." Conversely, the majority of his officers wore their hats at a right angle to their shoulders.

According to Jean Pierre Osenat, an auctioneer, the hat in question was easily recognizable by people. It was a symbol used by Napoleon that was visible during battles. People would see it and know for certain that Napoleon was present.

In moments alone, he consistently wore it atop his head or clutched it tightly, even tossing it carelessly at times. This served as a representation of the emperor, embodying his power and authority.

The individuals conducting the auction specified that this hat has a flawless history, as it was passed down within the family of Napoleon's palace quartermaster throughout the entirety of the 1800s.

Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau is offering a hat for auction. This hat includes a cockade that was attached to it by Napoleon in 1815, while he was traveling across the Mediterranean from Elba, where he was exiled, to Antibes. It was during this journey that Napoleon briefly regained power.

There are other things available for purchase, such as a silver plate taken from Napoleon's carriage after he lost at Waterloo in 1815. Additionally, a wooden case filled with razors, a silver toothbrush, scissors, and other personal items that belonged to Napoleon is also up for sale.

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