Napoleon Bonaparte's hair sells for $13,200 in New Zealand auction

An incredible array of memorabilia from the final days of Napoleon Bonaparte sold at a New Zealand auction house, Art and Object, yesterday (June 29).

The lots were compiled from artefacts collected by Denzil Ibbetson, a British officer who was with the French Emperor up until his death.

Ibbetson journeyed with Napoleon to his exile on the Island of St Helena, South Atlantic, in 1815, after the French Emperor was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.

Lots in the sale included Ibbetson's diaries, a number of well-executed drawings and sketches and - most remarkably - a lock of Napoleon's hair, cut the morning after his death in 1821, aged 51.

A lock of Napoleon's hair, cut the morning after his death in 1821

The lock of hair was sold contained within a 67mm diameter case along with an inscription, and carried an entry-level investment value of NZD 12,000-15,000 (roughly $8,000-10,500).

In the end, the hair realised a final value of NZD 19,000 ($13,223).

According to some reports, Art and Object had hoped that the hair would sell for substantially more - nevertheless, it remains a great appreciating investment for its lucky buyer.

Meanwhile, collectors on the look-out for other historic Napoleon memorabilia can find this deep red sash belonging to the Emperor and three signed letters all for sale on the market.

One bears the Emperor's his lesser-seen "Bonaparte" signature, while the others are written to the Duc de Feltre, his Minister of War, in 1812 and 1813.


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