Appraised Value: $1,500 - $2,000 (1999)
$1,500 - $2,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 8
Appraisal Video: (2:31)
C. Wesley Cowan
Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Photographs
Cowan's Auctions, Inc.
GUEST: What I know is what I've sort of picked up from family because I inherited all this. It's been an accumulation. This was the first. My great-great-aunt was a miniaturist. She was very enterprising. She painted two of these and sent one to Napoleon. That is Napoleon, the nephew of Bonaparte.
APPRAISER: Right, right-- Napoleon the Third.
GUEST: And he wrote back to her en Francais and he signed it, of course, and we've got the envelope, the original envelope.
APPRAISER: The original envelope, uh-huh.
GUEST: Then a friend of my grandmother, who was the... I guess the niece of the lady who did this painting, found this on the battlefield of Waterloo. She's writing all about this in 1835. And that is just about what I know.
APPRAISER: Well, that's a lot, actually. What you've got is a nice little collection of things that have great family history, of course, but also have some historical significance. Of course this is a watercolor of Napoleon the First. It's a very well-done miniature, and this is the second one that was done, so there's another one out there supposedly. And then you've got the letter from Napoleon the Third, thanking her for this. And of course you saw the herald, the crest on the stationery. And it's in this marvelous gesso frame with the Napoleonic crest. And then to top things off, you've got this wonderful... we're not quite sure if it is a cartridge box plate or something off a French shako, but it is from the battle of Waterloo. And the inscription on this sketch book from your great-aunt's friend saying that she's walking around the battlefield, sticks her parasol in the ground and comes up with this and sends it to her. It's a nice group of things. If it were related directly to Napoleon the First, it would be a little bit better. Napoleon the Third is not quite as... he doesn't have the same juice as Napoleon the First. Nonetheless, on an auction market... if this came up at an auction of historical memorabilia or if it were in a Napoleonic auction, I'd estimate its value at $1,500 to $2,000 because it's just a great little story and the painting is wonderful.
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