Up for Auction: Napoleon's Will

Copy expected to fetch $160K
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2013 5:18 PM CST
An engraving of Napoleon.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – History buffs will have to dig deep if they hope to score a rare copy of Napoleon's will at auction tomorrow. The AP reports that the sale at Paris' Drouot Auction house is expected to fetch about $160,000. A few odds and ends about the document, which is actually a copy made by one of Napoleon's advisers. (The former emperor's handwritten original is in the French national archives):

  • Rare emotion: "Napoleon always writes in a factual way," says one expert. "But here we see emotion, saying that he wants his ashes to be scattered on the banks of the Seine (river) among the beloved French. He knew he was dying." The king didn't grant his wish about the ashes.
  • Little wealth: The exiled Napoleon had little actual wealth to distribute when he wrote the will on April 16, 1821. The AP describes it as "nothing more than a few jewels, sculptures, porcelain crockery and the odd painting." He would die 19 days later.
  • Message to son: Napoleon tells his son "never to forget that he was born a French prince," notes NPR.

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