Napoleon’s Image Hat breaks record at auction
Vita gazette – A hat belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the signature broad, black hats when he was French emperor, sold for a record price of 1.932 million euros at a French auction in Paris on Sunday.
One of the signature broad, black hats that Napoléon wore when he ruled 19th century France and waged war in Europe went for 1.932 million euros, breaking the previous record for a Napoleonic hat, held by the same auction house of 1.884 million euros in 2014.
The hat, known as a bicorne, is in Napoleon’s trademark colours (black, with the French flag’s colours blue-white-red as a symbol). The black hat is one of a handful that Napoléon wore when he ruled 19th-century France and waged war in Europe.
It was the centrepiece of Sunday’s auction in Fontainebleau of memorabilia collected by a French industrialist, Jean-Louis Noisiez, who died last year. It was initially valued at $650,000. But the bidding quickly jumped higher. The name of the winning bidder was not released.
Napoleon is believed to have owned around 120 such hats, most of which are now lost. According to the auction house, Napoleon wore this particular hat towards the middle of his time as emperor, which lasted from 1808 to 1815.
Unlike most people at the time, Napoleon wore his hat sideways, giving him a distinct silhouette easily recognised by his troops in battle. Napoleon rose to prominence during the French Revolution, becoming a key figure in the Revolutionary Wars. He served the republic as first consul and was crowned emperor in 1804. He was exiled in 1815 after losing the battle against British and Prussian forces at Waterloo. He died in 1821 on the island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean. Sunday’s hat sale comes only days before a biopic on Napoleon reaches cinemas worldwide.