A hat once graced by the iconic Napoleon Bonaparte has garnered an astonishing €1.9 million (£1.69 million), smashing initial estimates of €600,000 (£525,000). This historic headpiece, a symbol of the French emperor’s reign in the 19th century, set a new “world record” for the highest amount ever paid for one of Napoleon’s distinctive bicorne hats, according to Osenat auction house.
The exceptional artifact was part of the extensive collection amassed by French industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez, dedicated to preserving Napoleonic memorabilia. Among the remarkable items accompanying the hat was a silver plate, pilfered from Napoleon’s carriage after his defeat at Waterloo, a wooden vanity case, and even a silver toothbrush.
At the heart of this unique assembly, however, was the felt black hat, capturing attention with its historical significance. While conventional military officers typically wore their bicorne hats with the points facing forward and backward, Napoleon defied tradition. His innovative style, known as “en bataille,” featured the hat’s tips aligned with his shoulders, providing a tactical advantage in identifying fellow military leaders during combat.
This extraordinary auction not only witnessed the acquisition of a tangible piece of Napoleon’s legacy but also marked a momentous occasion in the world of historical artifact sales. The fervent bidding war surpassed all expectations, emphasizing the enduring allure of Napoleon’s persona and the timeless appeal of his era.