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Napoleon’s pistols worth up to 1.5 million euros

Messenger Online

Published: 20:04, 1 July 2024

Update: 20:11, 1 July 2024

Napoleon’s pistols worth up to 1.5 million euros

Photo: Collected 

Two pistols that Napoleon Bonaparte once intended to use to kill himself are up for auction this weekend, expected to reach up to 1.5 million euros, the auction house said Monday (1 July).

The richly decorated guns inlaid with gold and silver feature, the engraved image of Napoleon in full imperial pomp. They are said to have almost been used to end the French ruler's life in 1814 when he was forced to give up power after foreign forces defeated his army and occupied Paris.

"After the defeat of the French campaign, he was totally depressed and wanted to commit suicide with these weapons but his grand squire removed the powder," auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat told AFP. Napoleon instead took poison but vomited and survived, and later gave the pistols to his squire to thank him for his loyalty, Osenat added.

They are expected to fetch 1.2-1.5 million euros at Sunday's auction in Fontainebleau, south of Paris.

Memorabilia of the emperor is extremely sought-after among collectors. His famous black cocked hat with its blue, white and red trimmings sold for 1.9 million euros in November.

Upon his abdication, Napoleon went into exile on the island of Elba off the coast of Italy. He would soon grow bored and make a dramatic return to France, only to have his career definitively ended when he was defeated by the British at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, dying in exile on the island of St Helena six years later.