PARIS - A bicorne hat believed to have belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte sold for a record 1,932,000 euros ($2.11 million) at the Drouot auction house in Paris on Sunday.
It was initially estimated at 600,000 to 800,000 euros. The price beat the 1,884,000 euros paid for another Napoleon hat at Drouot in 2014, a official at the auction house said.
"One million four hundred fifty thousand (euros) to my left, 1.5 million, we have 1.5 million in the room, 1.5 million for Napoleon's hat. We're leaving it at 1.5 million for this major Napoleon symbol, I'm selling for 1.5 million (before fees), no regrets, sold," auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat said as he brought down the hammer to applause.
Ahead of the auction, Osenat told Reuters the black beaver felt hat in the traditional bicorne shape was a trademark for Napoleon, who had owned about 120 such hats throughout his life.
"The hat was part of the image he constructed, as Napoleon was a man of communication," Osenat said, adding that Napoleon always wore the hat with the corners aligned with his shoulders, while most people at the time wore it with the corners front to back.
Hats believed to have been owned by Napoleon regularly appear at auctions. In October 2021, a newly discovered hat with DNA evidence proving it belonged to Napoleon was auctioned by Bonhams in London.