Dress sword, pistols of Napoleon fetch $2.9M at US auction

Adress sword and five firearms belonging to French emperor and military leader Napoleon Bonaparte fetched nearly $2.9 million in an auction, according to an announcement by their United States auctioneers on Tuesday. The dress sword was carried by Napoleon when he staged a coup in 1799.

The lot, which was put up for sale by the Illinois-based Rock Island Auction Company, was sold on Dec. 3 via phone to a buyer who has remained anonymous, company president Kevin Hogan told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The sword and five ornamented pistols had initially been valued between $1.5 million to $3.5 million.

With the $2.87 million sale, "the buyer of the Napoleon Garniture is taking home a very rare piece of history," Hogan said. "We are pleased to have provided the opportunity for them to acquire such a historic object," he added.

The sword, with its scabbard, was the "crown jewel" of the collection, according to the auctioneers.

The weapon was made by Nicolas-Noel Boutet, who was director of the state arms factory in Versailles.

After being crowned emperor, Napoleon is believed to have presented the sword to Gen. Jean-Andoche Junot, but the general's wife later was forced to sell it to pay off debts.

It was then recovered by a London museum. A U.S. collector was its last owner, but the man recently died, according to the auction house.

In May, France celebrated the bicentennial of Napoleon's death.

The famed Corsican is one of the most divisive figures in French history, his huge contribution to the creation of the modern state set against his imperialism and warmongering.


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