The small 10-gram decoration - worth less than
$500 if melted down for its metal - is expected to reach around
300 times that, auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat said.
Its value "certainly isn't based on the weight of the gold, but
on the weight of history," he added.
Napoleon famously crowned himself emperor at Notre Dame
cathedral in 1804, placing the Roman-style laurel wreath on his
own head, even though Pope Pius VII was there presiding over the
The man whose empire once stretched from Barcelona to Hamburg
said he owed his authority to himself and not to God.
The leaf on sale on Sunday however never made it to the
Before it started, Napoleon complained the crown was too heavy,
leaving its creator Martin-Guillaume Biennais to remove six
Each of Biennais' six daughters received a leaf. The one under
auction has stayed in the family ever since.
The crown, inspired by the laurel wreath worn by Roman emperor
Julius Caesar, contained more than fifty leaves and was melted
down in 1819.
"This small leaf represents the grandeur of the story of
Napoleon," Osenat said.
He said the leaf was expected to fetch between 100,000 and
150,000 euros ($118,250 - $177,375) at the auction house that
bears his name in Fontainebleau, outside Paris.
Bidders will also have a chance to buy a silk court waistcoat
with gilded silver embroidery worn by the emperor and a powder
box belonging to his wife Josephine.
Napoleon's famous bicorne hat was sold at auction in 2014 to a
South Korean bidder for 1.9 million euros, nearly five times the
($1 = 0.8457 euros)
(Editing by Richard Lough and Andrew Heavens)
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