Prince auctions Napoleon’s hat to pay to refurbish his palace
By Alanna Petroff November 13, 2014
Napoleon’s hat is set to go on the auction block this weekend. It’s expected to
sell for as much as 400,000 euros ($500,000.
Calling all history buffs!
Various items that once belonged to the famed French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte will be on auction this weekend, including his iconic hat.
“I prefer to give a new lease on life to this collection of objects and relics rather than to see them remain in the shadows,” said Monaco’s Prince Andrew in a written statement. Monaco’s royal family, which owns the items, is auctioning them off in France and plans to use the proceeds towards refurbishing their palace.
The items were originally collected by the prince’s great grandfather, Louis II, who was a big admirer of Napoleon.
The collection includes typical items such as medallions, coins, keys, paintings and sculptures but some surprising pieces are also up for grabs including Napoleon’s old socks which are estimated to be worth as much as 5,000 euros ($6,230).
As for the hat, it’s expected to fetch up to 400,000 euros ($500,000).
Not all items are prohibitively expensive. Other items from his era such as small medals are estimated to sell for as little 100 euros ($125), allowing everyday collectors to get in on the auction action.
Monaco, a sovereign principality, is one of the smallest countries in the world, measuring just under two square miles. It sits on the French Riviera and is bordered on three sides by France.
Napoléon Bonaparte (French pronunciation: [napɔleˈɔ̃ bɔnaˈpaʁt], born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the latter stages of the French Revolution and its associated wars in Europe.
As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He implemented a wide array of liberal reforms across Europe, including the abolition of feudalism and the spread of religious toleration. His legal code in France, the Napoleonic Code, influenced numerous civil law jurisdictions worldwide. Napoleon is remembered for dominating European affairs (1799-1815) while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won the large majority of his battles and seized control of most of continental Europe. One of the greatest commanders in history, his campaigns are studied at military academies worldwide. He remains one of the most studied political and military leaders in all of history.
Napoleon was born in Corsicain a family of noble Italian ancestry that had settled in Corsica in the 16th century; they were not rich. He spoke French with a heavy Corsican accent. Well-educated, he rose to prominence under the French First Republic. His fame came as a military leader, especially in Italy, against the enemies of the French Revolution who were allied in the First and Second Coalitions.
Napoleon took power in 1799 and installed himself as First Consul. In 1804 he made himself emperor of the French people. He fought a series of wars—the Napoleonic Wars—that involved complex ever-changing coalitions for and against him. After a streak of victories, France secured a dominant position in continental Europe. Napoleon maintained French dominance through the formation of complex alliances and the placement of generals and relatives to rule other European countries as French vassal states. Moving beyond military affairs, historian Andrew Roberts sums up Napoleon’s impact on civil society :
The ideas that underpin our modern world–meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, and so on–were championed, consolidated, codified in geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, and end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire.
The Peninsular War (1807–14) in Spain and the his large-scale invasion of Russia in 1812 were major military failures. His Grande Armée was badly weakened and never fully recovered. In 1813, the Sixth Coalition defeated his forces at the Battle of Leipzig and invaded France. Napoleon was forced to abdicate and go in exile to the island of Elba. In 1815 he escaped and returned to power, but he was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. He spent the last six years of his life in confinement by the British on the remote island of Saint Helena. He was the great hero of the French people throughout the 19th century, and his nephew Napoleon III built on that fame to become ruler of France, 1848-70.