This Sunday, one of the bicorne hats worn by Napoleon I will go up for auction at Fontainebleau, under the Maison Osenat hammer, among other souvenirs of the emperor, including a shirt.
Napoleon Bonaparte owned a lot of top hats. According to the Emperor’s specialists, he always had about ten with him. Although a large number of these headdresses have survived the centuries, most are in private hands. And it is very rare to see one go on public sale.
However, it will happen this Sunday, November 19, 2023. One of these iconic Napoleon I hats, in dark brown, known as the “black beaver”, is among the 137 lots in the Maison Osenat Empire sale that day in Fontainebleau. From the prestigious collection of Jean Louis Noisiez, it is decorated with a cockade tucked under a double braid of black silk, which holds a wooden button embroidered with silk threads, also black, and dates from around 1810 (estimate €600,000 to €800,000).
Shirt, leather gloves, handkerchief
The highlight of this sale, this imperial tipped hat will not be the only item that Napoleon once wore. Also included in the catalog, in a display case decorated with an imperial eagle and bees, is a white cambric shirt embroidered with red silk N topped with an imperial crown. The garment he would have worn during his exile on St Helena and carried by his faithful servant Mamluk Ali (between €40,000 and €50,000).
Added to this is an extremely rare pair of gloves in fine suede-colored leather delicately embroidered with silk threads with the number “N” surrounded by laurel branches, also housed in a display case (between €10,000 and €15,000). Or even the movable handkerchief that the deposed emperor would have used at the end of his life on Saint Helena when he was ill (between 12,000 and 15,000 euros).