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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/9/2022
Small fabric piece, measuring .5” x .5,” Moscow, Ca. 1812. A fragment of brown leather from a pair of trousers worn by French military commander Napoleon Bonaparte. Encapsulated by CAG to an overall size of 2.25” x 3.25.”

Napoleon's trousers were collected by a man named Saferi, Napoleon's body servant, during the failed Russian campaign of 1812. The original provenance letter noted: "The trousers from which the piece was taken were worn by Napoleon Bonaparte during the siege of Moscow...was discarded only to be picked up by his body servant (the son of whom gave the piece to me) who after removing the gold buckles (which bore the 'family crest' or rather the 'crest' created for himself) & doned [sic] them & wore them until he was wounded & eventually returned home to France where they were handed down as an 'heirloom of the family. The man's name was Saferi…" The small leather piece has expected age wear and soiling but the fabric is still in remarkable condition.

Napoleon's Grande Army marched into Russia in June 1812 with 685,000 men and reached Moscow by September. To the French's dismay, the capital had already been abandoned and Tsar Alexander I refused to negotiate a surrender. Napoleon eventually retreated through Western Russia with a fraction of his original force, due to men lost in battle but also sickness, starvation, and the extreme cold.

Although Napoleon usually wore either an Imperial Guard cavalry uniform or an Imperial Guard infantry uniform (as can be frequently seen in period paintings), it is possible that Napoleon was forced to abandon style for practicality and wear extra clothing due to Russia's brutally cold weather. This leather fragment may have been part of heavier leg coverings, similar to those worn by the cavalry or a piece of campaign trousers, or charivari. Campaign trousers were overalls made of cloth with leather-reinforced legs and cuffs.

Unfortunately little is known about Napoleon's body servant, Saferi, and the historical record fails to shed much light upon the man's life. Napoleon had at least three valets between the Egyptian campaign in 1798 and his death on St. Helena in 1821, Louis Constant Wairy (1778-1845), Louis Joseph Marchand (1791-1876), and Roustam Raza (1783-1845). Perhaps Saferi served in some capacity alongside or as a subordinate to one of these men.

Napoleon Bonaparte Leather Pants Swatch Worn During His 1812 Flight From Moscow (CAG Encapsulated)
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $100.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $123.00
Number Bids:1
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