Even if you don’t possess the military prowess of the famed French emperor, you can still drink like Napoleon.
During its Exceptional Sale on July 9, Christie’s is selling a rare bottle of wine that rumbled along in Napoleon’s personal military carriage. With an estimated worth between 15 and 32 thousand dollars, the hand-blown green bottle displays Napoleon’s seal of “a crowned ‘N’ enclosed in a laurel wreath.” Dated around 1810, it appears to be unopened and is believed to still contain wine, though the level of liquid is about eight inches below the cork.
How did this historic bottle end up at Christie’s? As the story goes, Napoleon fled the battle of Waterloo in June of 1815, but his carriage was hindered by a wall of soldiers in his path. He abandoned the carriage—filled with personal effects like a mahogany liquor case—and continued to flee on horseback. The Prussians pursuing him seized the carriage and eventually presented it to the Prince Regent. It was later sold to a famous antiquarian by the British government in 1816 and exhibited in the London Museum, then Madame Tussaud’s in 1842 and eventually acquired by Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, whose family still owns many of Napoleon’s prized belongings today.
The bottle of wine being auctioned is one of two found in the carriage’s liquor case. Described in 1815 as an “extremely fine old Malaga wine,” the green bottle was found with a companion bottle of rum. The wine bottle will be sold along with its original wicker basket, and if you’re looking to round out your collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, you can also bid on a lock of white hair from the mane of Napoleon’s favorite horse or his iconic bicorne hat, valued up to $787,000.
Ready to make your bid? Head to Christie’s Exceptional Sale in London and buy your share of history on July 9.