Napoleon to Josephine Engagement Ring Fetches About $1 Million

  • Napoleon's engagement ring for Josephine sold for more than $948,000 (730,000 euros) (not including commission and other fees).

    Napoleon's engagement ring for Josephine sold for more than $948,000 (730,000 euros) (not including commission and other fees).


Napoleon Bonaparte's engagement ring given to his beloved Joséphine in 1796 catapulted well beyond its high estimate of $20,000 to hammer down at more than $948,000 (730,000 euros) at a French auction on Sunday.

Featuring a pear-shaped diamond and blue sapphire set in gold, the 18th-century ring soared well above its estimate based on its historical value. Each gem weighed less than one carat, the auction house stated.

Bidding started at 50,000 euros at the Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau, but quickly escalated. Nearly 300 floor bidders, 50 phone bidders, and dozens of written bids made for a lively auction.

With a 25% commission, the anonymous buyer paid about $1.17 million for the ring.

A wealthy widow with two young children, Josephine was 32 years old when she married Napoleon, who was six years her junior. Their wedding on March 9, 1796, transpired just prior to Napoleon's command of the French army's successful invasion of Italy. He was yet to claim his great fortune and power when he bought the ring for Josephine.

Sold on the 250th anniversary of Josephine's birth, the ring was part of the sale of the “Collection of Prince Victor Napoleon and Princess Clementine of Belgium."

While Napoleon's marriage to Josephine did not last, she handed the ring down to her daughter, Hortense, who gave it to her son, Napoleon III, and it has stayed in the family until now.

More News Feed Headlines

The Singing Tree is at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London through Jan.  6.

ARTFIXdaily Closed from Dec. 18 to 31 - Happy Holidays!

  • December 14, 2017 20:48

ARTFIXdaily will closed from Dec. 18 to 31, with e-newsletter service resuming on January 1, ...

Read More

A painted version of actress Saoirse Ronan as Marguerite Gachet in the film “Loving Vincent.”

ARTFIXdaily Closed through Thursday, Dec. 14

  • December 11, 2017 23:37

ARTFIXdaily will be closed through this Thursday, Dec. 14, and e-newsletter service will return ...

Read More

View of Skirball Fire near the Getty Center.  via Twitter, Melissa Castro‏ @Healthgap_mila

The Getty, Skirball Cultural Center Close Under Wildfire Threat

  • December 06, 2017 14:17

The Getty Center closed to protect its art collections on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as ...

Read More

Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi

New Twists in 'Salvator Mundi' Tale as the Jesus Portrait Heads to Louvre Abu Dhabi

  • December 06, 2017 13:04

UPDATE, Sunday: Initial reports last week that the world's most expensive painting sold to a ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar


ArtfixDaily Artwire