Napoleon's Battle Sword Sells for $6.4 Million

A gold-encrusted sword Napoleon wore into battle in Italy was sold on Sunday for more than $6.4 million at an auction south of Paris, the auction house said.

The last of Napoleon's swords in private hands, it had been expected to fetch more than $1.6 million, the Osenat auction house, managing the sale, said. The buyer was not immediately identified.

Applause rang out in a packed auction hall across the street from one of Napoleon's imperial castles in Fontainebleau, a town southeast of Paris where the sword was sold.

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The intricately decorated blade is 32 inches in length and curves gently — based on an inspiration Napoleon drew from his Egyptian campaign, auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat said.

The sword was carried by Napoleon — who was not yet Emperor — into the battle of Marengo in June 1800, where he launched a surprise attack to push the Austrian army from Italy and seal France's victory, auction house officials said.