Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most surprised of all?
A member of the unnamed family had kept the small mirror on the bathroom wall of near their own toilet “throne” for nearly 40 years after inheriting the item from their grandmother, South West News Service (SWNS) reports.
The mirror measures about 19 inches by 15 inches, is mounted in a walnut frame with leaves and flowers, and is adorned with a plaque that reads, “This glass once belonged to Marie Antoinette and was purchased at the sale of Napoleon's effects.”
The mirror is presumably worth "a fortune," SWNS reported, and was likely purchased by Napoleon III’s wife Eugenie, who was obsessed with the ill-fated French queen.
The antique was bought in the 1950s by a family friend of the current owner. When the original buyer passed away in the '80s, the mirror was given to the grandmother of the present owner.
Now, the item is expected to fetch thousands when it’s put up for sale by East Bristol Auctions in Bristol, England, later this week.
“With something like this, provenance is everything” said auctioneer Andrew Stowe. “This has a wonderful paper trail – it actually appears in a catalogue from an auction held in 1880 at Camden House in Kent, for the estate of the late Napoleon III, in which is it noted as a ‘toilet-glass in an Indian Wood frame.’”
''When we saw that, it pretty much sealed it as the real deal,” Stowe said.
According to Stowe, the mirror’s most recent owner “never really thought it to be worth anything” and considered it “more interesting than valuable.”
‘'When they first bought it to our attention, we were certainly keen to explore its history, and then once we discovered all of this incredible evidence it really did become something special,” the auctioneer explained. ''To think one of the most famous historical figures looked into this very mirror is just spellbinding.”
Marie’s mirror will be auctioned on Friday through East Bristol’s Specialist Fine Art & Antiques Auction, where it is expected go for at least $10,000.