Napoleon Iconic Hat: Napoleon Bonaparte’s renowned black bicorn hat, a symbol of his military prowess, achieved a historic sale price of €1.932 million ($2.1 million) at a recent auction in France. This exceptional piece, one of around 120 hats owned by the French emperor, is a testament to his distinctive style. Crafted from black beaver felt and adorned with a tricolor cockade, it is said to have been worn by Napoleon during the mid-1800s. The auction, hosted by Osenat auction house, emphasized the scarcity of such hats, with only about 16 remaining, mostly housed in museums due to their historical significance.
This particular hat was part of a collection owned by French industrialist Jean Louis Noisiez, and its sale exceeded double its original estimate. The hat’s origins trace back to a furrier at the emperor’s palace, and it is believed to have been worn by Napoleon in the midst of his reign. The distinctive way he wore it, with the corners aligned with his shoulders, set him apart, making it a recognizable symbol for both his soldiers on the battlefield and the public.
Napoleon’s association with this hat, especially during significant events like his return from exile in 1815, added to its historical value. The emperor’s hats had a lifespan of three years, and he constantly had 12 in rotation. The auction not only showcased this iconic headpiece but also featured other items from Napoleon’s personal effects, including a vanity set and a handkerchief used during his exile on St. Helena. As the sale set a new record, it coincides with the release of Ridley Scott’s epic film depicting Napoleon’s life, bringing renewed interest to the legendary figure.