A marriage contract signed by Napoleon Bonaparte – emperor of France and leader of the Freanch military – and his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais, could sell for $20,000, Lion Heart Autographs (a New York-based dealer of manuscripts penned by famous and important people) stated.
The document, which dates back to the 19th century, is a marriage contract between Marie Jeanne-Louise Tiersonnier and Gen. August Hulin signed on May 30, 1804, in Paris. This document is the first that Joséphine and Napoleon signed as witnesses after becoming empress and emperor of France.
Is will be sold along with other documents that have the signatures of historical dignitaries, at the Palm Beach Jewellery Art and Antique Show, which will be held from February 10 to 16. According to Lion Heart Autographs, the marriage contract is expected to sell for at least $20,000.
In 2014, Napoleon’s marriage contract with his first wife Joséphine sold for more than five times the original estimate – 437,500 Euros (or approximately $563,700 at that time). The document was purchased by the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts and it can still be viewed at the museum.
Napoleon and Joséphine’s love history has fascinated many historians. Before she married Napoleon on March 9, 1796, Joséphine, a well-connected socialite, had been married to Alexandre de Beauharnais who was guillotined during the Reign of Terror.
At the time, a lot of controversy surrounded the couple, because Joséphine was six years older than Napoleon, had two children and was a widow. Historian Andrew Roberts said that Joséphine’s inability to give birth to a son, as well as the rumours of her infidelities, strained the marriage.
The emperor had the marriage with Joséphine annulled in 1810 and then married Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma. However, on his death bed Napoleon’s last words were “France, l’armée, tête d’armée, Joséphine” (which translates to “France, army, head of the army, Joséphine”).
David Lowenherz, founder and owner of Lion Heart Autographs, said that the document that will be auctioned at the Palm Beach Jewellery Art and Antique Show was also signed by two other kings and two queens, and six of Napoleon’s original eighteen marshals.
Other items featured at the show will include: doodles by former U.S. President Dwight David Eisenhower; a letter written by Albert Einstein about how there should be a collaboration between intellectuals and the working class; a decorative proclamation declaring the end of World War II signed by former U.S. President Harry Truman; a handwritten letter by Charles Darwin.
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