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Napoleon’s hat up for auction along with razor, watch and white silk stockings

A black felt two-cornered hat belonging to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte on display at the Osenat auction house in Paris
A black felt two-cornered hat belonging to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte on display at the Osenat auction house in Paris Reuters/Charles Platiau

Napoleon’s hat will go under the hammer on Saturday. One of the black bicornes (two-cornered hats) thought to have been worn by Napoleon Bonaparte is to be auctioned this weekend just outside Paris.

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The two-cornered felt hat was allegedly worn at the Battle of Marengo in Italy in 1800 and is expected to sell for at least 300,000 euros.

Fans of the legendary leader think it could go for as much as two million.

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The hat is thought to have been recovered from the battlefield by a French army veterinarian.

The bicorne is among 1,000 Napoleonic items presented for sale by the Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau.

"There is no other object in France's history that is more symbolic of the person it represents," said auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat ahead of the sale.

During his 15 years in power, Napoleon got through some 120 hats, mostly supplied by hatmakers Poupart & Cie of Paris.

"Napoleon always had 12 hats in use, each would last three years and were replaced at the rate of four per year," the auction catalogue explains.

Between 20 and 30 of the hats are still in existence, most in museum collections.

The one up for auction this weekend belongs to the royal family of Monaco and was first acquired by Prince Albert's great grandfather, a devoted Napoleonic collector.

The auction also includes portraits of Napoleon, tricolour military sashes and medals, statues of the emperor as well as his gloves, razor, pocket watch and a pair of his white silk stockings, which have an estimated sale price of 4-5,000 euros.
 

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