FONTAINEBLEAU, France (AP) – One of the signature broad, black bicorne hats that Napoleon Bonaparte wore when he ruled 19th-century France and waged war in Europe is expected to fetch upwards of 600,000 euros ($650,000) at an auction Sunday.
Other history-laden items in the sale of industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez’s collection of Napoleonic memorabilia include a silver plate looted from Napoleon’s carriage after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. It also includes a wooden vanity case he owned, with razors, a silver toothbrush, scissors and other personal belongings.
The faded black felt hat is the star piece, valued at between 600,000 and 800,000 euros ($650,000 to $870,000).
While other officers customarily wore their hats with the wings facing front to back, Napoleon wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. That style – known as “en bataille,” in battle, in French – made it easier for his troops to spot the military general and statesman in combat.
“For people who are into Napoleonic souvenirs, it’s the holy grail to have a hat,” said Jean-Pierre Osenat, head of the Osenat auction house. “There’s about 20 left that are…
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