Napoleon code letter fetches fortune

2012-12-02 22:42
A coded letter signed by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte the day after he retreated from the centre of Moscow, it is addressed to his external relations minister Hugues-Bernard Maret. (Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP)

A coded letter signed by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte the day after he retreated from the centre of Moscow, it is addressed to his external relations minister Hugues-Bernard Maret. (Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP)

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Fontainebleau - A secret code letter sent in 1812 by Napoleon Bonaparte boasting that his French forces would blow up Moscow's Kremlin has sold at auction for ten times its estimated pre-sale price.

A Paris museum - the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts - was finalising its purchase of the 20 October, 1812, document for €187 500, including fees. That's far above the pre-sale estimate of €15 000.

Auctioneers at Fontainebleau Auction House south of Paris say the letter sold on Sunday is unique. It was written in a numeric code used by the French ruler to throw off would-be interceptors. Its content bared the strains on Napoleon of his calamitous Russian invasion.

One line said: "At three o'clock in the morning, on the 22nd I am going to blow up the Kremlin."

- SAPA
Read more on:    russia  |  france
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