Explosive Napoleon Letter Blast Estimate At Auction

Category: Society / Dec 03, 2012 1:50PM EDT
A rare letter written by French emperor Napoleon giving orders to blow up the Kremlin in Moscow surprised experts on Sunday (December 2) by taking 150,000 euros (USD 194,580) at an auction outside Paris. The sum was ten times the initial estimate as the explosive content of the letter sparked a bidding war between French and Russian collectors. Written in code and dated October 20, 1812, the spidery letter reads as a series of figures, signed hastily from "Nap". The letter was accompanied by the original transcript, , with its first fateful sentence: "I'm going to blow up the Kremlin on October 22, at 3 o'clock in the morning." The letter was written at a difficult time for Napoleon, towards the end of his 1812 Russian campaign in which more than 300,000 French soldiers died. The battle outside Moscow in September is considered among the bloodiest days of action in the Napoleon Wars, with at least 70,000 casualties.