Famous ‘Bicorne’ Hat of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte Auctioned Off for a Massive $2.2M

It has been two hundred years since the death of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte but his belongings are still ‘hot stuff’ as one of his famous bicorne hats was sold of for a whopping $2.25 million [1.8 million euros] on Sunday, November 16.

The bicorne hat of Napoleon Bonaparte was bought five times more than its estimated value by an unnamed collector from South Korea. Additionally, Agence France-Presse revealed that it was not only the black felted hat made of beaver fur that was put in auction during that time. Other Napoleon Bonaparte owned items – among them  a pair of embroidered infant shoes said to have belonged to his son, a scarf and even a pair of stockings – also went under the gavel at the Osenat Auction House which is located just outside of Paris.

History-based, the bicorne hat, so-called because it is two-pointed, was the trademark headgear of the self-proclaimed French emperor. Made by the French hat maker Poupard, it was a deviation from the popular 17th century  headwear worn mostly by the American colonists during the era of the American Revolution, the tricorne [three-pointed] hat. Aside from that, the Michigan State University website pointed out that these historical hats were also a main component of a French officer’s military wardrobe in those times.

French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte wore his bicorne hat sideways instead of the two-pointed sides facing front and back. In this way, his army could easily spot him while in the battlefield.

As history states, Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in 1799, proclaimed himself emperor of France and reigned from 1804 to 1815. He ruled France along with his other territories in his trademark rigid militaristic way. Napoleon Bonaparte passed away at the age 51 with his death attributed to stomach cancer.

The bicorne hat that recently went under the hammer is one of the only 19 headwear left sported by Napoleon Bonaparte during his prime.

Even after two centuries after his reign, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte remains one of the most popular historical figures in France. As to date, the main association dedicated to his memory has an estimated number of 4,000 members.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE