A sword made for
Bonaparte’s eldest brother, Joseph, will appear at auction for the first time later this month, with an estimated value of between £250,000 and £350,000 (US$340,000 and US$480,000).
The unique sabre was commissioned by Joseph (1768-1844) when he was the King of Naples and the Two Sicilies from 1806-08. Made by the Royal Arms Manufactory of the
the sword was inscribed on both sides of the blade VIVA IL RE
(Long Live King Joseph Napoleon).
There is only one other blade inscribed in this manner: the one made for the Emperor Napoleon, now in the Museo Ejército (Army Museum) in Toledo, Spain, according to
Bonhams, which will feature Joseph’s weapon at its live auction, “
: The British Sale,” on Oct. 27 in London.
Joseph became the King in Spain in 1808, but he was never able to control the country. He abdicated after his defeat at the Battle of
on June 21, 1813, which ended French rule in Spain. His sword was seized by the British, led by the Marquis of Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington), according to Bonhams.
The sword was presented to the Prince Regent and preserved in the Royal Collection at
“The sword is being offered for sale for the first time,”
head of this sale at Bonhams, said in a statement. “This is a very rare opportunity to acquire a piece which is not only historically important but, in its craftsmanship and astonishing level of detailed decoration, also a work of art in its own right.”
Also on offer is an autographed letter by Napoleon Bonaparte to his companion in exile and English teacher
Comte de Las Cases
(Count lascases), dated March 9, 1816. The letter, demonstrating Napoleon’s attempts to master the English language, partly reads “…it is two o’clock after midnight, j have enow sleep j go then finish the night into to cause with you…”
The letter is being exhibited at Waterloo Memorial Museum until Oct. 17. It is expected to sell for between £130,000 and £180,000 at the auction.
Additional highlights of the 189-lot sale include a bicorne hat, circa 1806-07, believed to have been worn by Napoleon, with a low estimate of £100,000; and a rare bronze equestrian figure of “Napoleon entering Cairo,” circa 1897, with a low estimate of £60,000.