Napoleon’s hat sold at auction for 2 million euros

A hat that once belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte during his time as French emperor has recently sold for a record-breaking price of almost two million euros at an auction in France.

Napoleon’s hat is known as a bicorne, and it features his signature colors of black with the French flag’s blue-white-red insignia. Collectors from around the world showed interest in the item, though the identity and nationality of the buyer were not disclosed.

Previously owned by Jean-Louis Noisiez, who passed away last year, Napoleon’s hat was part of a larger collection of Napoleon memorabilia that was also put up for sale. This included a Legion of Honor medal and a pair of silver spurs owned by Napoleon.

 Napoleon’s hat sold at auction for 2 million euros

Napoleon's hat

The final price for the hat far exceeded the estimated value of 600,000 to 800,000 euros, selling for nearly four times the reserve price.

Napoleon is believed to have possessed around 120 of these hats throughout his fifteen years of ownership, though the majority have since been lost. Jean-Pierre Osenat, an expert from the auction house, described the hat as representing the image of the emperor himself.

In terms of historical context for Napoleon’s hat, he wore this particular hat during the middle of his reign as emperor. His distinctive choice to wear it sideways allowed his troops to easily recognize him on the battlefield, setting him apart from other officers.

Rising to prominence during the French Revolution, Napoleon played a significant role in the Revolutionary Wars before becoming the first consul and later crowning himself emperor in 1804.

Napoleon's hat

In 1815, he was exiled after suffering defeat at the hands of British and Prussian forces in the Battle of Waterloo. He passed away in 1821 on the island of Saint Helena.

Coinciding with the sale of Napoleon’s hat, a biopic on Napoleon directed by Ridley Scott was released in cinemas worldwide. The film showcases epic battles across Europe and explores Napoleon’s complex relationship with his wife, Josephine.

Joaquin Phoenix, who portrays Napoleon in the movie, discussed the emperor’s social awkwardness and described him as a romantic figure. Phoenix mentioned the difficulty in conducting research due to the varying accounts of Napoleon’s life throughout history.

However, the actor emphasized that his goal was to find inspiration rather than concrete information, focusing on details such as Napoleon’s eating and drinking habits.

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