Napoleon Bonaparte’s bicorne hat sells for record price at auction

Image of Napoleon Bonaparte's bicorne hat.

Image of Napoleon Bonaparte's bicorne hat. Credit: X@OsenatSVV

A bicorne hat that belonged to the French emperor and military commander Napoleon Bonaparte has been sold for a record price.

Designed in his trademark color of black, with the French flag’s blue, white and red as insignia, the bicorne black beaver felt hat, worn while he was emperor, sold on Sunday, November 19, for almost €2 million. The sale took place at the Osenat auction house located in Fontainebleau’s Hôtel d’albe.

A South Korean businessman set the previous record for a Napoleonic hat back in 2014. He paid €1.884 million on that occasion – also at Osenat – but that was dwarfed by the €1.932 million paid yesterday.

Osenat declined to reveal either the identity or the nationality of the winning bidder. It had been estimated before the auction that the historic tricorne could go for between €600,000 and €800,000, although its reserve price was set at nearly four times less than the final bid.

The bicorne was part of the Jean Louis Noisiez Collection that was being auctioned and had previously belonged to the businessman industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez, who died last year.

According to Osenat, Napoleon I wore this particular hat towards the middle of his time as emperor. He is believed to have owned a collection of around 120 hats, most of which, their whereabouts are not known.

The hat was not the only item of memorabilia up for auction. A Legion of Honor medal and a pair of silver spurs originally owned by the famous Frenchman were also on offer.

Who was Napoleon 1?

After being crowned emperor in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was a key figure in the French Revolution. He had a unique habit of wearing his hat sideways, something which is said to have helped his men to distinguish his silhouette during battles.

He was famously defeated at the Battle of Waterloo by British and Prussian forces. In the Treaty of Fontainebleau signed on April 11, 1814, Napoleon was exiled to the Italian island of Elba by the Allies. He later died on the island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean in 1821.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at