Napoleon Bonaparte’s Hat Fetches $2.1 Million At Auction

Napoleon Bonaparte’s hat sold for $2.1 million with estimates amounting between €600,000 to €800,000 or more than $650,000 to $870,000.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s hat sold for €1,932,000 or $2.11 million at the Drouot auction house in Paris. Many believed that it was his hat due to the former military commander’s trademarks.

Reuters reported that estimates reached €600,000 to €800,000 or roughly $655,000 to $873,000. The sale price exceeded the €1,884,000 euros that a buyer paid for another Napoleon hat in 2014 according to a Drouot official.

An enduring fascination of the former French military commander grows continually in the collector’s market according to Artnet

Bonaparte’s hat became a rare piece of military history as it is one of only 20 surviving examples of his famous headpiece. 

READ ALSO: Precious Publications: Five Rare Shakespeare Books Will Be Sold For $10.5 Million

Napoleon Bonaparte’s hat worn a certain way

Drouot’s auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat said that Bonaparte wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. The style called “en bataille” made it easy for the troops to identify their commander during battle. 

Osenat added that Bonaparte was present when they saw the bicorne hat in combat.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s hat auctioned off
Napoleon Bonaparte’s hat auctioned off/Photo via La Gazette Drouot’s website

Colonel Pierre Baillon recovered the hat first. The auctioneers said that Baillon was Napoleon’s quartermaster or a senior soldier who supervises stores or barracks. A businessman named Jean-Louis Noisiez acquired the hat after it passed through many hands. 

A man of communication

Reuters reported that Osenat said Bonaparte trademarked the traditional-shaped black beaver felt hat. The former French military commander owned about 120 hats throughout his lifetime.

Osenat added that the hat was part of Bonaparte’s personality as he was “a man of communication.” He wanted his troops to know that he was fighting among them. The hat became a part of an image of a hard-working, down-to-earth leader that he implied to his brethren.

The French military commander persevered to earn his troops’ loyalty. He memorized their names and recognized them on the battlefield. He treated all of his people with kindness through granting them privileges like loaning money or visiting their families. 

Napoleon Bonaparte’s hat sold for $2.1 million

Bonaparte’s hat part of a memorabilia auction

The hat became part of businessman Noisiez’s collection which got included in the auction. His collection consisted of other memorabilia from Bonaparte such as a Legion of Honor medal and a pair of silver spurs. These items joined the hat in auction. The businessman died in 2022. 

Bidding for the hat increased rapidly until Osenat announced the winner. Osenat announced that the buyer must pay 28.8 percent in commissions and ultimately brought the total cost to $2.1 million. 

Another Bonaparte bicorne hat sold in 2021. He wore the hat in 1807 during a meeting with Russia’s Alexander I to sign the Treaty of Tilsit. It earned €1.2 million or $1.4 million at Sotheby’s.

Banner photo via Google Arts And Culture.

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