Napoleon engagement ring auction hits £615,000


Sapphire and diamond ring sells for 47 times its estimate in France.

By Hallie Engel

An engagement ring given by Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine de Beauharnais has exceeded expectations at auction in France, fetching €730,000 ( £615,000).

Estimates for the ring, which features a pear-shaped diamond and sapphire, were based on its actual market value of €10,000 to €15,000 (£8,421 to £12,632). It was sold at French auction house Osenat last weekend.

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Emily Villane, a spokeswoman for Osenat, told ABC News: “In my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by more than 47 times."

However, the ring’s storied past took control of the auction, with Villane adding, “it is not our job to tell bidders how much they should pay for the historical premium.”

The auction was held on Sunday, honouring the 250th anniversary of Josephine de Beauharnais’ birth. At the time that Napoleon gifted the ring to de Beauharnais, he was not as poweful, hence the design is rather modest, with both stones weighing less than a carat. However, de Beauharnais is said to have treasured the ring long after their divorce, passing it down as a family heirloom.

The highest bidder and new owner of the ring has chosen to remain anonymous.

Tags : auctionnapoleon bonaparteosenatpear shapesapphire and diamond
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