Napoleon’s coded Kremlin letter sold for nearly $250,000
2012-12-03 0:00

From: AssociatedPress



A secret code letter sent by French emperor Napoleon boasting that his multinational forces would blow up Moscow’s Kremlin has sold at auction Sunday for €187,500 ($243,500) — 10 times its estimated presale price.

A Paris museum, the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts, was finalizing its purchase of the Oct. 20, 1812, document with elegantly calligraphic ciphers.

The sale price, which includes fees, far outstripped the pre-sale estimate of €15,000 ($19,500), according to Fontainebleau Auction House south of Paris.


In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, a letter dictated by Napoleon in secret code that declares his intentions "to blow up the Kremlin" during his ill-fated Russian campaign is displayed in Fontainebleau, outside Paris. The rare letter, written in unusually emotive language, sees Napoleon complain of harsh conditions and the shortcomings of his grand army.


Experts say the letter is unique, written in a numeric code that Napoleon often used to throw off would-be interceptors — notably when he was conveying battle plans. The letter’s content also revealed the strains on Napoleon of his calamitous Russian invasion.

"At three o’clock in the morning, on the 22nd I am going to blow up the Kremlin," the letter said, laying out his route of retreat and urging his minions to send rations to the towns to the west. "My cavalry is in tatters, many horses are dying."

Napoleon’s prolific correspondence has drawn aficionados from around the world in places like the U.S., Britain, Japan and Russia. Interest appears to be rising as museums like the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts prepare to mark the bicentennial of Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo in 1815.

The Kremlin letter was but one piece in the vast auction Sunday. A 310-page manuscript for the "Essay on countryside fortification," which Napoleon wrote while exiled on the remote island of Saint Helena in 1818-1919, was also bought by the Paris museum — for €375,000 ($487,000), including fees.

Gerard Lheritier, director of the Paris museum, said it already has at least 1,500 letters, manuscripts or other writings linked to Napoleon Bonaparte. It recently acquired one from Japan that Napoleon had written to the Empress Josephine; it fetched €600,000-€700,000, he said.

[...]

Read the full article at: news.yahoo.com




Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

60 Years of Research Links Gluten Grains to Schizophrenia
2015-03-31 1:05
Does the consumption of gluten-containing grains contribute to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia? Believe it or not, this question has been asked for well over 60 years by researchers who stumbled upon evidence that the removal of gluten from the diet results in improved symptoms, or conversely, that gluten grain consumption leads to higher prevalence of both neurological and psychiatric problems. Reports ...
A Sour Deception: Citric Acid Comes From GMO Black Mold, Not Fruit
2015-03-30 23:32
Just what is your food made of, anyway? Try industrial synthesis, genetically modified mold secretions, hydrochloric acid, mercury-contaminated caustic soda, ferrocyanide… and, of course, lots of GMO corn. If common ingredients like “citric acid” and “ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)” sound normal and familiar enough that you practically conjure up an image of the flourishing orchard they were grown in – then ...
Thousands of migrants dumped on Britain as French wriggle out of border promise
2015-03-30 19:56
Thousands of migrants could be dumped on Britain’s doorstep if France tears up a historic border agreement, it was claimed last night. Officials have vowed to do “everything in their power” to wriggle out of a treaty moving the UK border to Calais. The besieged town’s mayor Natacha Bouchart is prepared to spark a major diplomatic row by opening the frontier ...
Richard III laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral
2015-03-30 18:36
King Richard III was today laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral - more than 500 years after his death in battle. The monarch, who reigned from 1483 to 1485, was the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch read a poem by Carol Ann Duffy during the service. Also in attendance was Robert Lindsay, who played Richard III in a version ...
Sweden - A new paradise for Romani beggars
2015-03-30 17:33
Thanks to the European Union and freedom of movement that follows with membership Sweden has been flooded with gypsies from Eastern Europe. Most member states have cracked down hard on the phenomenon of organized begging with legislation and forceful evictions so the Romani (colloquially known as Gypsies) who are engaged in this venture have moved their business to the country where ...
More News »