The hat of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is going up for auction on Sunday. The auction will take place at the Osenat auction house in Paris, as reported by the AP agency.
The two-horned headdress made of black beaver felt is valued at 600 to 800 thousand euros, writes the British BBC.
According to historians, Napoleon’s hat became his main trademark. Due to the fact that it was worn across, it was recognizable in battles – the warlord wore it with the horns parallel to the shoulders, most of his officers wore the hat perpendicular to the shoulders.
“People recognized this hat everywhere. When they saw him on the battlefields, they knew that Napoleon was there… And when he was in private, he always had him on his head, or held him in his hand – and sometimes threw him to the ground. That was his image – the symbol of the emperor,” auctioneer Jean Pierre Osenat told the BBC.
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Napoleon owned about 120 hats over the years, with only 20 believed to have survived. “For people interested in Napoleonic memorabilia, having a hat is the holy grail,” Osenat continues. “There are about 20 left that are authentic, and about 15 of those are in museums, so about four or five are in the hands of collectors,” he adds.
According to the auctioneers, the first owner of the valuable hat was Colonel Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoleon and one of his comrades in many battles, including Waterloo.
The hat then passed through several hands before being acquired by industrialist Jean-Luis Noisiez. The businessman spent more than half a century amassing his collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, firearms, swords and coins before his death in 2022.
Other Napoleonic artefacts are also headed for auction. For example, a silver plate stolen from Napoleon’s carriage after his defeat at Waterloo in 1815, or a wooden toilet box with razors, a silver toothbrush, scissors and other items.