Napoleon’s Pistols Sold at Auction Classified as French National Treasures

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Written By Vikas Jangid

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Napoleon’s Pistols Sold for €1.69 Million at Auction

Historic Firearms Used in Attempted Suicide Fetch High Price, Classified as French National Treasures

Two Nepoleon's pistols once owned by French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, intended for his suicide but ultimately unused, have been sold for a staggering €1.69 million (£1.4 million) at auction.

Held on Sunday at the Osenat auction house near the Fontainebleau palace, the sale price significantly surpassed the estimated range of €1.2 million to €1.5 million.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Suicide Attempt and the Fate of the Pistols

The Nepoleon's pistols, crafted by Parisian gunmaker Louis-Marin Gosset, are adorned with gold and silver inlays and even feature an engraved image of Napoleon himself.

According to historical accounts, Napoleon planned to use these very pistols to end his life on April 12, 1814, following his defeat and abdication.

Source: Twitter/AFP 

However, his loyal aide, Armand de Caulaincourt, intervened, removing the gunpowder from the weapons, forcing Napoleon to take a different approach. He ultimately resorted to poison, though the attempt failed.

Following the thwarted suicide attempt, Napoleon gifted the pistols to Caulaincourt, who subsequently passed them down through his family lineage. The auction also included the original pistol box along with various accessories such as a powder horn and tamping rods.

French Government Has 30 Months to Acquire Napoleon’s Pistols

The sale of these historically significant pistols has triggered a special provision. France's culture ministry has classified the Nepoleon's pistols as national treasures, effectively banning their export.

This classification grants the French government a 30-month window to potentially acquire the pistols from the anonymous buyer, with the stipulation that they can only be removed from France for temporary exhibitions.

Napoleon Memorabilia Continues to Captivate Collectors

Commenting on the sale, auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat highlighted the unique significance of these Nepoleon's pistols. "The sale represents not just the weapons themselves," Osenat explained, "but the image of Napoleon at his lowest point."

This event serves as another testament to the enduring fascination with Napoleon and his legacy. Just last November, one of Napoleon's iconic bicorne hats sold for an impressive €1.9 million, demonstrating the strong demand for historical artifacts associated with the French emperor.

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