Napoleon's bicorne hat sells for $2.2m in Fontainebleau

One of Napoleon's famous bicorne hats has been sold at an auction of his memorabilia held in Fontainebleau, Paris on November 15-16.

The hat is perhaps the most iconic piece of Napoleon memorabilia, and has not been seen at auction for 40 years

The auction house Osenat offered a host of memorabilia from the former French emperor, including his stockings, a scarf and a shirt.

However, with the hat an emblem of Napoleon's rule, it was the undoubted highlight of the sale, selling at $2.2m. It was estimated at $470,000-626,500 prior to the auction.

One of 19 known examples, there are only around two or three Napoleon-worn hats in private hands. This example was originally part of a collection of 1,000 items of Napoleon memorabilia acquired by Prince Louis II of Monaco (1870-1949).

The collection is maintained by his grandson, Prince Albert of Monaco, and kept at the Napoleon Museum in Monte Carlo. The family are selling a small number of items to fund new museum projects.

The collection is renowned for its depth and quality, accounting for the strong bids in the auction. The hat originated from Joseph Giraud, a vet for the emperor, and was kept in his family until 1926.

An unidentified South Korean collector bought the hat, demonstrating the global appeal of the leader's memorabilia, which is widely collected.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has an authentic strand of hair from Napoleon for sale.

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