This sword used by Napoleon Bonaparte to seize control of France when he chased the revolutionary government out of office, leading to him becoming Emperor, is set to be auctioned and could fetch USD 3.5 million.
The Rock Island Auction Company auction house told Newsflash in an exclusive interview that the auction is taking place in honour “of the 200th anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte’s death”, and that this lot includes six pieces “including a rifled carbine, carriage pistols, pocket pistols, and a distinctive sword and scabbard”.
They added that the pre-auction estimate ranges from USD 1.5 million to USD 3.5 million” (GBP 1.1 million to GBP 2.56 million).
The auction house explained: “The sword is the one Bonaparte carried in his hand when he drove the Council of Five Hundred out of St. Cloud, and became in consequence First Consul.” He was First Consul from 1799 to 1804, after which he declared himself Emperor.
This historical event is also known as the “Coup of 18 Brumaire”, widely agreed by historians as the event that ended the French Revolution. It eventually led to Napoleon crowning himself Emperor, with the auction house saying: “The Napoleon Garniture is among the most symbolic set of arms from the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars and dates back to when Napoleon was rising to power in the French Republic.”
The auction house added: “The placement of this sword at the ousting, comes straight from the catalog of the set’s first exhibition in 1816 at the Oplotheca in London. This was at No. 20, Lower Brook Street, Bond Street, and promoted by Thomas Gwenapp. In that exhibition’s catalog, among other significant items, Napoleon’s Garniture is listed as No. 17.
“The Met Museum contains a drawing of this exhibition, and a case labeled “Bonaparte” can be seen in the back right corner.”
They added: “It is unknown if Napoleon carried it in subsequent battles, but presentation arms were seldom used in combat.”
They also said: “In 1804 after crowning himself Emperor, he presented the set to another general, his close friend, General Jean-Andoche Junot.”
The auction house said that the sword, along with various rifles, dubbed the “Napoleon Garniture”, is being sold as a single lot from 3rd to 5th December, starting at 9:00 AM CST, at the Rock Island Auction Company, which is located at 7819 42nd Street West, in the city of Rock Island, which is located in the US state of Illinois.
The Rock Island Auction Company will also host a public “Preview Day on the preceding Thursday” and the items will be sold on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Bids can be placed on their website, as well as in person or over the phone.
During the auction, other items, that belonged to Elvis Presley, Brigham Young, Annie Oakley, and a member of the infamous Dalton Gang, are also going under the hammer.
The auction house has sold numerous items belonging to famous historical figures, including a revolver owned by John Wayne, which sold for USD 517,500 (GBP 379,000). The auction house said that “the Colt Single Action Army revolver can be seen used by Wayne in such films as True Grit, Rooster Cogburn, and The Cowboys, among others.”
They have also auctioned off a pair of pistols “carried by Alexander Hamilton during the Revolutionary War”, which sold for USD 1.15 million (GBP 841,000), as well as a revolver that belonged to US President Teddy Roosevelt.
They added: “The Colt Single Action Army revolver was ordered as a gift for Roosevelt’s 54th birthday. Factory engraved and silver plated, it was shipped four days before his birthday, just over a week prior to the election of 1912, and ten days prior to his assassination attempt in Milwaukee, WI.”