The dress sword worn by Napoleon Bonaparte when he staged a coup in 1799 and five of his firearms auctioned for nearly $ 2.9 million, the US auctioneers said on Tuesday.
The lot, offered for sale by Illinois-based Rock Island Auction Company, was sold over the phone on Dec. 3 to a buyer who has remained anonymous, company chairman Kevin Hogan told AFP.
The sword and the five decorated pistols were initially valued between $ 1.5 million and $ 3.5 million.
With the sale of $ 2.87 million, “the buyer of the Napoleon Trim wins a very rare piece of history,” Hogan said. “We are happy to have offered them the opportunity to acquire such a historic object.
The sword, with its scabbard, was the “jewel in the crown” of the collection, according to the auctioneers.
The weapon was made by Nicolas-Noël Boutet, who was director of the state arms factory in Versailles.
After being crowned emperor, Napoleon reportedly presented the sword to General Jean-Andoche Junot, but the general’s wife was later forced to sell it to pay off her debts.
It was then recovered by a London museum. An American collector was the last owner, but the man died recently, according to the auction house.
In May, France celebrated the bicentenary of Napoleon’s death.
The famous Corsican is one of the most controversial figures in the history of France, his enormous contribution to the creation of the modern state being opposed to its imperialism and its warmongers.
Joséphine Bonaparte’s tiaras go for $ 760,000 Meanwhile, a pair of “very rare” jewel-encrusted century-old headdresses believed to have belonged to Napoleon’s wife, the French Empress Joséphine Bonaparte, has been auctioned off Tuesday in London for over $ 760,000.
The two tiaras – from a private British collection dating back at least 150 years – were said to have been given to Napoleon’s wife by his sister Caroline in the early 19th century, according to Sotheby’s.
The two headdresses, each part of an adornment – a set of matching jewelry designed to be worn together – are set with gemstones engraved with classic heads, several of which may be antique, the auction house said.
“These majestic jewels mounted with cameos and intaglios certainly evoke the style of the great Empress Josephine – her rank as the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, her impeccable taste and her interest in the classical world,” said Kristian Spofforth, of Sotheby’s.
Josephine Bonaparte likely only received the engraved gemstones, which Sotheby’s said were a possible combination of Roman examples dating back to 100 BC. AD as well as more contemporary Italian engravings.
Auctioneers believe the jewelry was then mounted for her in the French capital circa 1808 in the neoclassical style, citing markings on the crowns pointing to Paris and its famous goldsmiths of the time.
(AXADLETM with AFP and REUTERS)
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