Two Tiaras Once Owned by Joséphine Bonaparte Headed to Auction

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Two rare tiaras that once belonged to Queen Josephine Bonaparte of France will be auctioned on Tuesday via Sotheby’s in London, marking their first appearance on the market in more than 150 years.

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Made in Paris in 1808, the two arrows have been kept in private UK collections for the past 150 years in their original Parisian leather box. One, in carnelian, enamel and gold, is estimated to have pre-sales between £200,000 and £300,000 (US$265,000 and US$398,000); The second, a gilded lamp with images of deities, is expected to sell for between £100,000 and £200,000.

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Christian Spoforth, head of Sotheby’s Jewels Department in London, said: “These majestic jewels adorned with cameos and intaglios certainly evoke the style of the aristocratic Empress Josephine – her rank as the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, her impeccable taste and His interest in the classical world.” said in a news release.

Empress Josephine (1763–1814) wore these neoclassical ornaments to “awaken the ideals of the ancient world, and to raise the prestige of her husband’s rule to the present empire”, Sotheby’s said.

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Sotheby’s London sale, titled “Treasure”, will have 30 lots. The top lot is the 1840 Penny Black, the world’s first prostate stamp known as The Wallace Document. Its pre-sales estimate is between £4 million and £6 million.

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