This is the key to the room in which Napoleon died: the small artifacts auctioned by the British auction house Sotheby’s. Eleven bidders fought for the award.
It is a small piece of contemporary history: the key to the bedchamber of French General Napoleon Bonaparte was auctioned for the equivalent of 92,000 euros. As the British auction house Sotheby’s announced on Thursday, it is the key to Napoleon’s room on the South Atlantic island of St Helena, where he was held by the British and died in 1821.
Eleven bidders exhausted themselves around a metal object approximately 13 cm long, which was eventually sold for up to six times its estimated value. The key was found in a Scottish house, Sotheby’s announced, as David Macdonald’s antique furniture specialist.
Found in envelope
“The family that owned it knew it was somewhere else, but it was hidden,” McDonald said. Eventually the valuable piece was found in an envelope which was in an old chest.
A soldier named Charles Richard Fox, who was on the island of St Helena after the death of the French Emperor, allegedly brought the key to his mother in Scotland, who is said to have been a “great admirer” of Napoleon.
“We often see objects associated with Napoleon – important paintings or furniture in our incredible homes,” McDonald said. “But there is something very powerful about this key, mainly because it comes from the place where it was held and from the room in which it died,” the expert said.