PARIS (AFP) — A pair of boots worn by Napoleon during his final exile in St. Helena are to go under the hammer in Paris later this month.
The size 40 boots (roughly 7.5 in U.S. men’s) were given to a sculptor working on an equestrian statue of Bonaparte by General Henri Gatien Bertrand, who had followed the French leader into exile on the far-flung South Atlantic island after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, auctioneers said.
The shoes are expected to fetch between $55,221 and $88,354 when they are sold at the Drouot auction rooms on November 29.
Napoleon had a large collection of footwear, which he bought from the Paris shoemakers Jacques in Montmartre.
Although British propagandists often caricatured the Corsican as an authoritarian midget, at 5 foot 2 inches he was actually above average height for his time.
The boots were gifted by the son of sculptor Carlo Marochetti to the French politician Paul Le Roux, a minister under the Second Empire of Bonaparte’s nephew, Napoleon III.
His family has kept them since, said auctioneers Binoche & Giquello.
General Bertrand returned to France after the death of his beloved leader in 1821. Many French people still suspect Napoleon was poisoned by his British jailers.
© Agence France-Presse