Historical treasures are to be sold to the highest bidder in November when Monaco’s royal family parts with much of its unique collection of Napoleon’s possessions.Share
One thousand lots are to go under the hammer after the Grimaldi family decided to dispense with the French imperial relics to make room for a museum celebrating its own ruling dynasty.
But because of the exceptional nature of the auction, which is to take place in Fontainebleau, south of Paris, the French state could invoke an arsenal of measures at its disposal until the very last minute. It can either pre-empt a sale after the hammer has fallen, confiscate lots or take the exceptional measure of declaring an item a national treasure in order to prevent it leaving the country.
“The French Defence Ministry has a very bellicose approach to historical items, particularly manuscripts,” said Paris auctioneer Alexandre Giquello, who is co-hosting the sale with Jean-Pierre Osenat, a specialist of the Napoleonic era. Mr Giquello said that because of the risk that the Defence Ministry would confiscate some lots without paying the vendor, he had advised the Grimaldi family to withdraw 30 manuscripts from the auction. (Read more.)