Legacy in Wool: Napoleon's Bicorne Hat Commands Unprecedented Auction Triumph 2024-04-17 04:50:44

"Crowning Glory: Napoleon's Bicorne Hat Shatters Records, Fetching $2.1 Million at Auction"

Napoleon Bonaparte's historic bicorne hat made waves in the auction world on Sunday, commanding an astounding $2.1 million, far surpassing the anticipated value. French auction house Osenat, which initially estimated a value of up to $875,328, witnessed the hat's triumphant sale, eclipsing the previous record set in 2014 when another Napoleon hat fetched approximately $2 million.

Once adorning the head of the French general who played a pivotal role in the French Revolution and ascended to become the emperor of France, the felt hat proudly displays the colors of the French flag – red, white, and blue. Dating back to the 1800s, the hat's storied history adds to its allure, having been worn by Napoleon during his return from the island of Elba in 1815.

Originally in the possession of Colonel Pierre Baillon, a military officer closely associated with Napoleon's palace from 1806 to 1815, the hat remained in the Baillon family until the 19th century. Acquired by antiques dealer Charles Meyer in 1928, the hat then found its way into the hands of Jean Brunon, marking the beginning of its enduring legacy within the Brunon family.

Described on the Osenat website as having been utilized by Emperor Napoleon I during a transformative period in French history, the hat represents a tangible link to the events that shaped the nation. Notably worn by Napoleon as he reclaimed his position as emperor upon returning from exile, the hat embodies the distinctive image of Napoleon – often depicted with his hat cocked to the side, a departure from the conventional.

Auctioneer Jean Pierre Osenat emphasized the rarity of such artifacts, revealing that out of approximately 120 hats owned by Napoleon, only around 16 have endured, mainly residing in private collections. Describing this specific hat as having witnessed many historical events, Osenat underscored its symbolic significance in encapsulating Napoleon's "history of 15 years that revolutionized France and changed the world."

As the historic hat changes hands, its extraordinary price tag solidifies its status not just as a fashion accessory but as a tangible artifact embodying the legacy of one of history's most influential figures. CBS News has reached out to Osenat for further insights, awaiting a response to unveil more details about this remarkable piece of history.

"In the Shadow of Napoleon: A Hat's Journey Through History"

As Napoleon's bicorne hat finds a new custodian amidst the fervor of a record-breaking auction, it leaves in its wake a tale woven with threads of history and intrigue. The staggering $2.1 million price tag, well beyond initial expectations, solidifies the hat's status not merely as a relic of fashion but as a tangible vessel embodying the legacy of a figure who left an indelible mark on the world.

Beyond its monetary value, the hat's journey from the head of Napoleon during his triumphant return from Elba in 1815 to the hands of modern-day collectors symbolizes the endurance of historical artifacts. Worn at a pivotal moment in French history, the bicorne hat stands as a silent witness to the sweeping changes orchestrated by the enigmatic emperor.

The auction's success sheds light on the enduring fascination with Napoleon's life and legacy. Auctioneer Jean Pierre Osenat's insights into the scarcity of such artifacts, coupled with the symbolic weight of this particular hat, underscore its rarity and importance in preserving a tangible connection to the past.

As the hat transitions into a new chapter, its record-breaking sale sparks not only financial headlines but a rekindled appreciation for the tangible relics that bridge the gap between the present and the transformative epochs of history. In the shadow of Napoleon, this hat stands as a testament to the enduring allure of historical artifacts and their ability to transcend time, inviting us to reflect on the threads that connect us to the events that shaped our world.


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