Thursday, April 22, 2010

The $176,000 Souvenir Building

When the gavel fell at Sotheby's auction house in 2003, the selling price of the large bronze column replica was $176,000 including the buyers premium. This may be the most expensive souvenir replica and one of the largest at 5 feet 9 inches by 10 inches wide (175cm by 25.5cm). Reader David W. alerted me to this sale. This must be the most expensive souvenir building / monument sold thus far. Looks like it was formerly owned by Fashion Designer Bill Blass. The 'miniature,' if you can call it that, is a 19th Century replica of Napoleon's Column surmounted by an effigy of Napoleon I. The real monument column was erected for Napoleon I in the Place Vendôme, Paris. Constructed between 1806-1810, it was designed by Denon, Gondouin and Lepère in the style of Trajan's Column of Rome. It was created from the bronze of cannons which had been captured at the Battle of Austerlitz (1805) and the spiral bronze bas-relief, commemorating Napoleon I's victories, was created by Bergeret. The column was originally surmounted by a statue of Napoleon dressed as Caesar, crowned with a laurel leaf and holding a globe in one hand. This statue was replaced during the Restoration with a likeness of Henry IV, this was then removed when Napoleon returned from Elba. Later, on the instruction of Louis Philippe, the statue was replaced by the figure of Napoleon dressed as seen on the offered lot, wearing a coat and his famous bi-corn hat. Napoleon III later altered the monument to its original form showing Napoleon clad as Caesar. Reader Scott D. wrote about other versions of this replica recently as well.

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