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Emperor Napoleon's hat can be yours... for up to $3.25 million

One of Napoleon’s famous two-pointed bicorne hats is going under the hammer at an auction near Paris later today (Sunday).

The black beaver felt hat is valued from 300,000 euros onwards (S$487,000) but could go for up to two million euros (S$2.35 million), according to Napoleon memorabilia watchers.

During his reign as French emperor – from 1804-1814 and again in 1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have worn around 120 of the hats.

A Napoleon impersonator on a horse takes part in a re-enactment in Rueil-Malmaison, outside Paris, 
on Sep 20 this year, to commemorate the 2nd Imperial Jubilee. Photo: AFP

 

Made by French hat makers Poupard, Napoleon wore them sideways – rather than with points at the front and back – so he could be easily spotted on the battlefield.

Of around 20 hats that still exist, only two or three are in private hands with the rest scattered in museums across the world.

The hat is the most emblematic item of the two-day sale at Fontainebleau.

Fancy the Emperor's stockings?

French auctioneers Osenat is also putting up items like a pair of Napoleon’s stockings, a scarf and a shirt.

All come from a collection of around 1,000 pieces of Napoleon memorabilia that belonged to Prince Louis II of Monaco (1870-1949), the great grandfather of current monarch Prince Albert.

The hat was acquired by Joseph Giraud, a vet in Napoleon’s household, and remained in his family until 1926 when it was sold to Prince Louis’ collection.

The Grimaldi family are selling a number of pieces, after having decided to pursue new museum projects.

“It’s a very well known collection, the provenance of the pieces is incontestable,” Thierry Lentz, director of the Napoleon Foundation, told AFP.

Two hundred years after his reign, Napoleon remains a popular historical figure. The main French association in his memory currently has around 4,000 members. - AFP

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