Louis XVI bloody cloth brings $24,500 to Paris auction

A cloth believed to have been dipped in the blood of France's King Louis XVI at his beheading has sold well at a Paris auction held on April 3.

Louis XVI blood auction
While the blood can never be confirmed authentic, Paul Fraser Collectibles has plenty of genuine strands of famous hair

The item made an impressive $24,400 at Coutau-Begarie, despite the fact that it cannot be ascertained whether the blood is Louis XVI's as none of his confirmed DNA exists.

King Louis XVI's reign was marred by debt and financial problems, which led to discontent in the country's lower classes. This strengthened opposition to France's "ancien regime" - the absolute monarchy and aristocracy.

As a result, the Bastille, a representation of the monarchy's authority in Paris, was famously stormed in 1789 and the notoriously bloody French revolution began. Louis XVI was subsequently imprisoned and, having been found guilty of high treason, was executed on January 21, 1793.

Celebrating this revolutionary triumph, the citizens of Paris are said to have clamoured to take a souvenir from the beheading. Some are said to have taken strands of Louis' hair and dipped cloth in his blood.

The 9cm x 13cm section of cloth at auction was accompanied by a handwritten note that reads: "The precious blood of Louis XVI, 21 January 1793". It is housed in its own miniature coffin, which also contains a small pouch of sand that is believed to have been collected from the ground beneath where the king was killed.

Also featuring in the sale was a silver buckle from the king's shoe, which made $5,650.

Paul Fraser Collectibles also offers the chance to own intimate collectibles from history's leading figures, with our selection of famous hair for sale. Included are authentic strands of Napoleon Bonaparte's hair as well as his enemy, the Duke of Wellington.

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