Marie Antoinette's Rare Personal Items Up For Auction In Paris

Category: Art / Oct 16, 2012 3:53PM EDT
Finery belonging to France's decadent queen Marie-Antoinette went on display at a Paris auction house on Tuesday (October 16) before going under the hammer. On October 17, a day after the 219th anniversary of her death, a few of those possessions will go home with the highest bidder, with some items expected to fetch up to 10,000 euros. The rarest and most valuable item to be auctioned is a pair of green silk shoes with white leather lining, dating from the 18th century that Antoinette wore and later gifted to one of her manservants. "Obviously, it's rather rare to find objects that belonged to the Queen, particularly dresses or more intimate things. For example, in my career, I have been doing the job of historical artifacts expert for 20 years now, and it's just the second time that I have a pair of shoes on sale. So it's rather exceptional and therefore of course, it has sparked an international interest," said Cyrille Boulay, an art expert at Drouot auction house. Other pieces of interest include a white jersey muff Antoinette wore as an undergarment whilst held captive at the Temple of Paris in the months before her death, and a sliver of fabric from one of the queen's pink silk dresses. The significance of the items lies in their rarity, Boulay said. "All those who acquire an object that belonged to Marie-Antoinette or another historic figure, they have this feeling that by owning a part of her possessions, they own something legendary, that's what is moving. To say that a pair of shoes that belonged to the queen that travelled time are today, 200 years later on sale, that's pretty fantastic," he said.