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Napoleon's hat fetches 1.9 million euros at auction

This black two-cornered hat belonging to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was sold for nearly 1.9 million euros
This black two-cornered hat belonging to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was sold for nearly 1.9 million euros Reuters/Charles Platiau

A South Korean collector shelled out nearly 1.9 million euros for one of Napoleon's famous two-pointed hats at an auction in Fontainebleau outside Paris.

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The ‘bicorne’ hat, one of only 19 examples left of the headwear sported by Napoleon, was sold for 1,884,000 euros, almost five times its estimated value, at the two-day auction of Napoleon memorabilia by Monaco's royal family.

The hat was bought by Lee Tae Kyun, the manager of Korean food industry giant Harim.

"I came for my boss, the head of the company. He wanted to buy it because we have a new building and the hat means something there, for the new generation," said the bidder, requesting anonymity.

"We want to show this hat to make people come ... and because the employees of our company are the same (as Napoleon). We are pioneers in Korea."

Made by French hatmakers Poupard, Napoleon wore his hats sideways – rather than with points at the front and back – so that he could be easily spotted on the battlefield.

Only two or three of the remaining hats are in private hands with the rest scattered in museums across the world.

The headpiece was one of the 1000 items of Napoleon memorabilia that went under the hammer.

The collection belonged to Prince Louis II of Monaco, the great-grandfather of current monarch Prince Albert.

Other items sold included a pair of Napoleon's stockings, a shirt and a red cotton scarf, which sold for 32,200 euros.

A massive bust of the former emperor sold for 700,000 euros and a painting by French artist Paul Delaroche went for 460,000.

Another notable item was a kitchen knife found on student Friedrich Staps who intended to use it to assassinate Napoleon in Austria in October 1809, a crime for which he was executed by firing squad.
 

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