PARIS – A copy of Napoleon Bonaparte’s will, drawn up in 1821 when the former French emperor was living in exile, has been sold at auction for €357,000 ($480,000).
The item went under the hammer at the Drouot auction house in Paris on Wednesday. It had been estimated fetch €80,000 to €120,000 by Artemisia Auctions, which organized the sale.
The document was handwritten by Napoleon’s field assistant, the Count of Montholon, when the former emperor was in exile on the British island of Saint Helena.
“I want my ashes to rest on the banks of the Seine among the French people I loved so much,” says one of its codicils, written April 16, 1821. Napoleon died on May 5 that year at age 51.
In another amendment, he lists his possessions in Saint Helena, including furniture, jewelry, silverware, porcelain, weapons and books to be divided among his closest aides and his “good and dear mother.”
The document was put up for sale by descendants of the Count of Montholon and was bought by an unnamed French businessman.
Napoleon personally wrote his own last testament, which is on display in the National Archives in Paris, but he had several copies made in case the British destroyed the original.