Marriage Contract Signed by Napoleon and Josephine to Be Auctioned on Valentine’s Day

The pair are said to have had one of history's greatest romances.

Beyond his short stature, Napoleon Bonaparte is known for being quite the romantic: his marriage to his first wife, Josephine, is widely considered to be one of history’s greatest love stories. For Valentine’s Day this year, a marriage document signed by the couple will be sold at Lion Heart Autographs for a starting price of just $20,000.

This is quite the bargain compared to the couple’s own marriage license, which fetched €437,500 ($563,700) when it came up at auction in 2014. One of the emperor’s ‘bicorne’ hats sold for $2.2 million later that year.

A marriage contract signed by Napoleon and Josephine. Photo: courtesy Lion Heart Autographs.

A marriage contract signed by Napoleon and Josephine.
Photo: courtesy Lion Heart Autographs.

The contract at auction celebrates the union of August Hulin, one of Napoleon’s generals, and Marie Jeanne-Louise Tiersonnier, and was signed just 12 days after Napoleon and Josephine were crowned Emperor and Empress of France. In addition to Napoleon and his wife, full name Marie-Josèphe-Rose Tascher de La Pagerie, other signatories of the rare document include six of Napoleon’s original 18 marshals.

“I don’t think there is a person anywhere who isn’t fascinated by Napoleon and Josephine’s love story—a truly romantic couple joined together during a remarkable period in history,” said Lion Heart Autographs founder and owner David Lowenherz in a statement, noting that the contract “offers a rare glimpse into the splendid affairs of the royal household.”

Josephine had several high-profile love affairs before she met Napoleon. Theirs was a tumultuous relationship, plagued by rumors of infidelity, and his family opposed the match. Though the marriage was annulled in 1810, Napoleon’s last words were said to be include her name.

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