Napoleon's Iconic Hat Sells for Record-Breaking Price, Reflecting the Enduring Fascination with the Emperor
A historic hat once worn by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for a record-breaking 1.932 million euros at a Paris auction. The hat's unique tilt made it instantly recognizable, symbolizing Napoleon's power and image. The sale highlights the enduring fascination with Napoleon and his era.
A historic hat that once belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte was sold for a staggering 1.932 million euros ($2.1 million) at a Paris auction on Sunday, setting a new record. The auction, held by Osenat auction house, attracted collectors from around the world, although the buyer's identity and nationality were not disclosed. The bicorne hat, made of black beaver felt and featuring the French flag's blue-white-red insignia, is one of the few remaining hats owned by Napoleon. Historians estimate that the emperor owned approximately 120 such hats, but most of them have been lost over time.
The hat's unique feature of being tilted sideways made Napoleon easily recognizable by his troops during battles. Napoleon wore this specific hat during his reign as emperor from 1808 to 1815, and it became a symbol of his power and image. "People recognized this hat everywhere. When they saw it on the battlefields, they knew Napoleon was there," said auction house expert Jean-Pierre Osenat. The final price of the hat was more than double the estimated value of 600,000 to 800,000 euros, highlighting its immense historical value. The hat was previously owned by businessman Jean-Louis Noisiez, who passed away last year.
Noisiez had spent more than half a century assembling his collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, including firearms, swords, coins, and the iconic bicorne hat. The sale also included other items such as a silver plate looted from Napoleon's carriage after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, as well as a wooden vanity case containing personal belongings. Overall, the auction showcased the enduring fascination with Napoleon and his era. The hat's immense value and historical significance speak to the enduring legacy of one of history's most influential figures. As a biopic on Napoleon, directed by Ridley Scott, is set to be released soon, the sale of the hat further adds to the global interest in the emperor's life and reign.