A Napoleon I hat bought for $2.89 million

A Napoleon I hat, the famous black bicorne with its blue, white and red cockade, sold for 1.932 million euros ($2.89 million) on Sunday in auctions that far exceeded estimates by the auction house., Osenat.

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The identity or nationality of the buyer has not been disclosed.

That sale attracted “collectors from all over the world” and caused great excitement, the auction house told AFP, breaking its own record; In 2014, he sold a Napoleon hat for 1.884 million euros.

The hat sold on Sunday was previously presented to the public and was valued between 600,000 and 800,000 euros.

It was priced at 500,000 euros and therefore sold for almost four times more, during the auctions that took place a few days before the release of a big-budget biopic dedicated to Napoleon, with Joaquin Phoenix in the title role .


“Only the hat represents the image of the emperor,” auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat told AFP in October.

This hat was worn by Napoleon (1769-1821) “for about half of the Empire,” according to a Belgian author who listed the emperor’s headdresses in 2007, Yves Moerman, according to the Osenat house.

In about fifteen years, Napoleon would have used about 120 of them, which allows us to see some for sale from time to time at auction.

The previous record was 1.88 million euros in 2014, also from Osenat in Fontainebleau. Acquired by a South Korean businessman, it comes from the collection of the princely family of Monaco.

A Napoleon I hat bought for $2.89 million


In 2018, a hat that, according to De Baecque et Associés, had been used during the Battle of Waterloo, cost 350,000 euros in Lyon.

This time, the sold hat is part of the collection of Jean-Louis Noisiez, founder of cleaning and other business services group GSF, who died in 2022.

The bicorne was made by Pierre-Quentin-Joseph Baillon, the emperor’s quartermaster since 1806. According to experts, Napoleon added his cockade while in the Mediterranean, returning from the island of Elba on 1 of March 1815.

The hat remained in his family until the end of the 19th century, before being sold to various collectors. It was exhibited at the Empéri museum in Salon-de-Provence (Boques-du-Rhône) between 1967 and 2002.