Napoleon Bonaparte's Sabre Fetches Record Price - Keeping it in the Family

Posted Jun 15, 2007 by Janice Ambrose

The gold encrusted sabre, classed by France as a historical monument was sold by a descendant of Napoleon's brother Jerome. It was bought by another branch of the family for an unexpected 4.8 million pounds.
Napoleon Bonaparte carried the sabre at the battle of Marengo in 1800. It was sold at an auction in Fontainebleau, outside Paris.
It's a world record for a souvenir of the emperor, for a sword and for a weapon in general.
Said Bernard Croissy, spokesperson for the auctioneers.
When auctioneer, Jean-Pierre Osenat, acknowledged a 4 million pound bid, the packed room gasped as heads turned to watch the battle between the family. They would not say who they were, except that they were descendants of Napoleon. There was also a telephone bidder. The hammer came down on 4.2 million pounds, and applause greeted his comment,
It stays in the family
Including the auctioneers fees, the amount totalled 4.8 million.
As the sabre was being presented, Osenat said,
This sword carries the odour of the battle field
It is known, that Napoleon wore it at the Battle of Marengo on June 14, 1800, where he won victory over the Austrians in the Piedmont region of northern Italy.
Bonaparte had a need to have emblems of his power, and this sword was one of them. It is decorated with his favourite motifs of Imperial Rome, with the head of Jupiter on the end of the handle.
The sword is 97cm long, and was the first in France to be curved like an oriental sword, giving rise to a style known as "a la Marengo."
The steel blade decorated in gold, with an ebony and gold handle, is protected by an unusual S-shaped guard beneath it, each extremity of which is decorated with gold.
said Jean-Claude Dey, an expert on antique weapons.
The weapon was classified as a French historical monument in 1978, and cannot leave France.
This symbolic and historical work of art, representing the power of Napoleon, has remained almost untouched for two centuries, apart from an exhibition in the Invalides military museum in Paris and at Napoleon's first home in Malmaison.