Charlotte Foster

Money & Banking

Napoleon Bonaparte’s iconic hat showcased for auction

Napoleon Bonaparte’s iconic hat showcased for auction

A newly discovered hat that once belonged to European statesman and general Napoleon Bonaparte has been showcased at an auction house in Hong Kong. 

The hat contains DNA of the esteemed general, proving it was once in his possession. 

Described by Bonhams auction house as the “first hat to bear the emperor’s DNA”, the item is currently on display in Hong Kong, before it will be relocated to Paris for a showing and then passed on to London, where it will be auctioned off. 

The hat is one of the most iconic images of Napoleon’s reign during the French Revolution, and a highly sought after item for history buffs and collectors of unique items.

Napoleon’s hat was bought by its current owner at a small auction house in Germany, with the owner not realising that it once belonged to the emperor. 

Image credit: Bonhams Auctions

"It was purely a chance encounter," said Simon Cottle, managing director for Bonhams Europe.

The buyer became interested in the hat when he realised it had unique inscriptions and other unusual characteristics that suggested it could have belonged to Napoleon.

The hat was then extensively tested using various methods, which recovered five hairs that carried the General’s DNA. 

Most other Napoleon collectors' items were handed down by noble families or from soldiers who picked them up off the battlefield, whereas this hat holds a very different story. 

The estimated price for the hat is currently between $185,000 and $270,000 with interested buyers remaining skeptical of that hat’s authenticity. 

Other Napoleon items that have gone through global auction circuits have been sold for as much as $3.3million. 

Image credit: Getty Images/Bonhams Auctions

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