Napoleon Engagement Ring to Josephine: 1796 gold ring fetches close to $1M at Osenat auction

By on Mar 25, 2013 in Amazing, Business, Europe, Fashion, Lifestyle, World Comments
Napoleon Engagement Ring

Napoleon Engagement Ring
Credit: ABC News

A 1796 Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine engagement ring was sold close to $1 million during an Osenat auction in Fontainebleau, France on Sunday, March 24, 2013. The auction of the gold ring was made in celebration of Josephine‘s 250th birth anniversary.

An anonymous bidder reportedly made a $948,000 final offer just before the hammer fell. The winning bid, which is way off the earlier estimate of $20,000, excludes commission and other fees.

Reports say that the 18th century ring has two pear-shaped gems, a blue sapphire and a diamond. The two tear-shaped stones, each weighing almost a carat, were placed in parallel but points in opposite directions.

Auction experts say that the cost of the ring went up too high due to its historical significance rather than the real worth of the jewelry.

Emily Villane of the Osenat auction house was very surprised about the outcome of the auction. She explained that “In my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by more than 47 times. We based the estimates in our catalog on the actual market value of the ring, minus Napoleon and Josephine provenance. It is not our job to tell bidders how much they should pay for the historical premium.

The 32-year-old Josephine was reportedly married to a younger Napoleon on March 9, 1796.

Sunday’s event at the Osenat auction house features the “Collection of Prince Victor Napoleon and Princess Clementine of Belgium.” It was personally attended by over 300 guests with 50 others followed the bidding over the phone.

Villane further explained that the event “was 15 minutes of relentless bidding. We opened at 10,000 euros, I raised it to 50,000 euros. From then on it was going up by 10,000. When the hammer went down at 730,000 euros there was a huge applause.

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