Napoleon Bonaparte’s engagement ring offered to his first wife Josephine goes on auction
Historically, the world’s greatest military leader and the celebrated first emperor of France, Napoléon Bonaparte who revolutionized military organization and training, sponsored Napoleonic Code, reorganized education and established the long-lived Concordat with the papacy, actually went on to marry a 6-years older widow with two children Joséphine de Beauharnais on 9th March 1796, just days after proposing and announcing their engagement. Notably, the marriage was not well received by Napoleon’s family who were actually shocked that he had married an older window, and eventually ended up in a divorce in 1810, as Joséphine didn’t bear Napoleon any children. However, the widow of French aristocrat Alexandre de Beauharnais, Joséphine was not just the recipient of numerous love letters written by Napoleon, but also of several price jewels, including a simple diamond and sapphire engagement ring that Bonaparte offered to his first wife. Now, that very same gold ring topped by two pear-shaped stones will cross the auction block of auctioneer Osenat at Fontainebleau, south of Paris, on March 24th, where it’s expected to fetch as much as $16,000.
Notably, despite being involved in numerous affairs, remarriage and then exile, the first French emperor never forgot her and his last word according to those near him on his death bed, were: “France. The army. The head of the army. Josephine.”
Also, we have earlier seen the sale offering of Napoleon Bonaparte’s rare letter written in English for $100,000 (pictured above), along with the little chair that this diminutive dictator is said to have sat on before his army was defeated at the battle of Waterloo went on auction, besides his lock of Napoleon’s hair and a lithograph of his body soon after his death and his upper permanent canine tooth, fetched top bids in the auction.
UPDATE: Napoleon Bonaparte’s diamond and sapphire engagement ring gifted to his first wife Josephine, who was 32 and six years senior to Napolean has exceeded all expectations at auction. The ring estimated to sell between $12,900-$19,300, sold for $948,000, almost fifty times its high estimate.