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    Description

    Napoleon Bonaparte Silk Stockings, Used by the Emperor Before and During his Exile on St. Helena, 1815. The stockings, or hose, are approximately 26¾" from the top to the heel with an embroidered crown above each ankle. They are lightly toned with a seam in the back. The stockings, presented by Napoleon to an aide, Major Joseph Archambault, on St. Helena, were last sold in The Gund III Collection in 2007. They come with impeccable provenance including a handwritten and notarized affidavit from two of Archambault's sons in 1894 describing the circumstances by which their father came by the stockings. The affidavit is in a Goodspeed's Book Shop folder. Also included with the stockings is an elaborately engraved receipt from Gervais Chardin, Parfumier de leurs Majestes Imperiales et Royales, Rue St. Martin, a la Cloche d'Argent, Paris, May 17, 1809 for items for the Imperial Household and a printed exhibition card referring to Napoleon B. Archambault as the "present owner". The stockings are in very fine condition.

    Joseph Archambault was born at Fontainbleau, France in 1796. Orphaned as an infant, he became a ward of the state. He attended military school and was attached as a page in Napoleon's suite. On Napoleon's return from Elba, Archambault rejoined the Emperor. Archambault was wounded at the Waterloo and was left on the battlefield. He recovered from his wounds and was one of twelve men selected to accompany Napoleon to St. Helena. Aboard the Bellerophon, enroute to the island, Archambault was ordered to surrender his sword. Rather than comply, he broke the blade over his knee and threw the sword overboard. He was transferred to the Cape of Good Hope later in 1815. Archambault made his way to the United States two years later. During the American Civil War he enlisted at the age of 65 and served as a major in the 2nd Pennsylvania Cavalry. He died in 1874. Napoleon left Archambault 50,000 francs in his last will and testament.

    The accompanying notarized affidavit reads:

    Napoleon Bonaparte: White Silk Stockings.

    This is to certify that our father Joseph Archambault accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte to St. Helena and was subsequently sent away with three others to the Cape of Good Hope. When he left, he was presented by the Emperor with several souvenirs, among them a pair of fine, long white silk stockings with a crown wrought into the side. They are in a state of excellent preservation. The stockings have never been out of our possession, since they were given to our father in 1815, and have consequently been in our own family nearly eighty years. They have been frequently shown to distinguished persons, among them Joseph Bonaparte and General Bertrand. We consider these stockings, a valuable addition to any collection of Napoleon relics.

    Napoleon B. Archambault (owner)
    3032 Girard Avenue

    Achille Lucan Archambault
    426 So. 40th St.
    February 3, 1894


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2009
    25th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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