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Napoleon's pistols he wanted to end his life with fetch over a million euros


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Two ornately decorated pistols once owned by French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte sold for a remarkable €1.69 million ($1.8 million) at an auction held near Paris on Sunday.

 

The exquisite pieces, crafted by Parisian gunsmith Louis-Marin Gosset and inlaid with gold and silver, even featured an engraved profile image of Napoleon himself. The sale took place at the Osenat auction house, situated just a stone’s throw from the Fontainebleau palace—a place where Napoleon himself contemplated suicide following his abdication in 1814.

 

The intriguing backstory behind the weapons adds to their allure. According to historical accounts, on the night of April 12, 1814, after the defeat of his army by foreign forces, Napoleon contemplated using these very guns to take his own life. However, his loyal grand squire, Armand de Caulaincourt, intervened.

 

Caulaincourt removed the powder from the guns, and instead, Napoleon resorted to poison, ultimately surviving the ordeal. The auction also included the pistols’ original box and various accessories, such as a powder horn and powder tamping rods, offering a complete glimpse into this tumultuous period of Napoleon’s life.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Osenat (@_osenat)

 

 

Despite having a new owner, these pistols remain classified as national treasures by France’s culture ministry, so their export is prohibited. The French government has a 30-month window to make a purchase offer to the undisclosed buyer, ensuring that the pistols remain within the country’s borders. The fascination with Napoleon memorabilia remains strong, as evidenced by the €1.9 million sale of one of his iconic tricorne hats last November.



 

 


 

Images: Osenat

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