Napoleon's bicentenary: Stocking, bloodied cloth among items up for auction

The former French emperor died on May 5, 1821, aged 51, on the southern Atlantic Ocean island of Saint Helena.

 A bronze bust named "The First Consul Bonaparte" according to Louis-Simon Boizot (1743-1809) is displayed at Osenat auction house, before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/SARAH MEYSSONNIER)
A bronze bust named "The First Consul Bonaparte" according to Louis-Simon Boizot (1743-1809) is displayed at Osenat auction house, before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/SARAH MEYSSONNIER)
Private collectors have a rare opportunity next week to buy some of Napoleon Bonaparte's DNA when a blood-stained cloth placed over his body during an autopsy goes on sale at an auction to mark the 200th anniversary of his death.
The former French emperor died on May 5, 1821, aged 51, on the southern Atlantic Ocean island of Saint Helena, where he had been banished by the British following his defeat in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo.
A round watch with the figure of French Emperor Napoleon I is displayed at Osenat auction house, before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021.(Photos: REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier)A round watch with the figure of French Emperor Napoleon I is displayed at Osenat auction house, before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021.(Photos: REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier)
 
Around 360 objects in total will be put on sale by auction house Osenat on May 5, with other highlights including a lock of Napoleon's hair, a pair of his silk stockings and a long-sleeved shirt embroidered with the letter 'N' in red stitching.
Auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat holds the large square handkerchief with the "N" under crown, having belonged to French Emperor Napoleon I, during a visit at Osenat auction house before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021. Auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat holds the large square handkerchief with the "N" under crown, having belonged to French Emperor Napoleon I, during a visit at Osenat auction house before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021.
 
The blood-stained cloth is estimated to fetch up to 15,000 euros ($18,000).
It comes with a note written in 1875 by the Duke of Bassano, whose father was gifted the bandage by the marquis of Montholon, a military general who followed Napoleon into exile on Saint Helena and stayed there until the emperor's death.
Bust portrait of French Emperor Napoleon I, wearing the uniform of a horse hunter of the Imperial Guard, painted by Aubert-Henri Joseph Parent (1753-1835), is displayed at Osenat auction house before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021Bust portrait of French Emperor Napoleon I, wearing the uniform of a horse hunter of the Imperial Guard, painted by Aubert-Henri Joseph Parent (1753-1835), is displayed at Osenat auction house before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021
 
"In this bloodstain you have the emperor's DNA. You cannot get more intimate than that," auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat told Reuters.
Auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat holds a band of cambric stained with French Emperor Napoleon I's blood, used during his autopsy, at the Osenat auction house before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021. Auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat holds a band of cambric stained with French Emperor Napoleon I's blood, used during his autopsy, at the Osenat auction house before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021.
Many of the artifacts on sale were brought back from Longwood House, Napoleon's final residence, a musty-smelling house on the windswept, rat-infested island.

A sleigh having belonged to the Empress Josephine of France is displayed at Osenat auction house before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021A sleigh having belonged to the Empress Josephine of France is displayed at Osenat auction house before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021
The collection also includes an ornate plate Napoleon used to dine off and a crystal goblet, as well as items of clothing.
"Napoleon owned a considerable number of shirts," said Osenat. "He was obsessed with cleanliness to the extreme. He took three to four baths a day, got through 20 to 30 liters a month of cologne and was always changing his shirts."
Auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat holds the long shirt that belonged to the French Emperor Napoleon I, at the Osenat auction house, before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021. Auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat holds the long shirt that belonged to the French Emperor Napoleon I, at the Osenat auction house, before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021.
His attire was part of a carefully crafted image. Napoleon and his 'bicorne' hats are indelibly linked in the public imagination.
In the early 19th century, such hats were worn with the corners pointing front and back, but Napoleon changed the angle to make himself noticed, said Jean-Christophe Chataignier, director of the auction house's Empire department.
"Napoleon wanted to create a look," said Chataignier. ($1 = 0.8311 euros) 
An auctionneer displays a round watch with the figure of French Emperor Napoleon I at Osenat auction house, before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021An auctionneer displays a round watch with the figure of French Emperor Napoleon I at Osenat auction house, before being put on auction for the bicentenary of Napoleon's death, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021