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Napoleon Imperial Gold Snuff Box for Bonhams Auction

A solid gold presentation snuff box with a monogrammed ‘N’ for Napoleon on the lid is for sale at Bonhams Fine Silver sale in London on 23 November.

Napoleon gold snuff box (£20,000-30,000)

It was one of 100 gold boxes made for the Emperor in 1806 as gifts for friends, family, diplomats and foreign dignitaries. After his coronation in 1804, Napoleon enthusiastically embraced the trappings of his new imperial position. The box, which is estimated at between £20,000-30,000, is signed by Nicolas Marguerite, described as Jeweller to the Crown and their Imperial Majesties. Napoleon’s elevation famously lost him the respect of Beethoven, who crossed out the dedication he had made on the score of his 3rd Symphony in disgust, but it had the effect of cementing his authority and prestige, both in France itself and abroad.

The box comes from a private collection of 12 presentation boxes, all with interesting histories. These include an 1820 gold snuff box monogrammed ‘CP’ for Charles Philippe, the future king Charles X of France, and the last Bourbon Monarch (£15,000-20,000) and a gold snuff box made for Louis Philippe, who succeeded Charles after he was forced to abdicate in 1830 and was the last man to rule France as king (£10,000-15,000).

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