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.

Josephine and Napoleon. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Josephine and Napoleon. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

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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