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Napoleon's Famous Bicorne: Own Record Broken

Photo: Christophe Ena / AP

He put on his hat crosswise and not lengthwise: Napoleon Bonaparte. Now a felt hat of the former French emperor has been auctioned in France. The hat was purchased at the auction of the Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau near Paris on Sunday for 1.932 million euros.

The auction of the famous black headgear and cockade in the French national colours of blue, white and red attracted "collectors from all over the world", the auction house Osénat announced. Who bought the bicorn at auction was not disclosed.

In the run-up to the auction, the auction house had estimated the bicorn at 600,000 to 800,000 euros. With the sum achieved, the auction house broke its own record: in 2014, the auction of a similar Napoleon hat had brought in the sum of 1.884 million euros.

Napoleon is said to have owned around 15 hats with the characteristic shape during the 120 years of his reign.

Among the pieces offered by a collector was a strand of the emperor's hair and a handkerchief. In addition, gloves and a shirt that Napoleon is said to have worn on the island of Saint Helena have been offered.

In France, there is still a certain admiration for the former ruler Napoleon. For some, he is seen as a reformer and founder of important institutions. Critics, however, accuse him of authoritarian rule and the restoration of slavery in the colonies in 1802.

Born in Corsican, he died in exile on the Atlantic island of Saint Helena in 1821 at the age of 51.

This week, director Ridley Scott's historical epic »Napoleon« about the famous warlord opens in cinemas.