Culture / Auctions

South Korean buys Napoleon’s hat for 1.9m euros

One of Napoleon’s famous two-pointed hats was sold to a South Korean collector for 1.9 million euros at auction near Paris on Sunday.

Nov 18, 2014 | By AFPRelaxnews

Napoleon's famed two-cornered hat

One of Napoleon’s famous two-pointed hats was sold to a South Korean collector for 1.9 million euros at auction near Paris on Sunday.

The black felted beaver fur “bicorne” hat is one of only 19 examples left of the French emperor’s unusual headwear, and was sold by Monaco’s Grimaldi family.

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.

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Made by French hatmakers 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.

Other items that were sold at a two-day auction at Fontainebleau by French auctioneers Osenat, Binoche and Giquello include 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.

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The collection, which also includes letters and documents relating to Napoleon’s reign, military exploits and exile and imprisonment on Saint Helena, is kept at the principality’s Napoleon Museum in Monte Carlo.

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