Napoleon's ring fetches $157,805 at auction in Vienna

VIENNA (AFP) - A silver lock of an Austrian emperor's hair and a ring containing a jewel unearthed by Napoleon in Egypt and then given to his wife Josephine have been auctioned in Vienna.

Franz Joseph's hair lock went for 13,720 euros (S$22,112) to an unidentified buyer while an unnamed Italian telephone bidder bought the ring for 97,900 euros (S$157,805) , the Dorotheum auction house said.

Napoleon (1769-1821) discovered the antique gemstone during his militarily disastrous but scientifically successful expedition - it also turned up the famed Rosetta Stone - to Egypt in 1798-99.

Pocketing it in the ruins of Pelesium, Napoleon gave the jewel to general Antoine-Francois Andreossy, an antiquities buff, but then asked for it back and presented it to Josephine.

She then had it made into a ring, and as a wealth of surviving accompanying documents show, she then gave it to her private secretary Count Vincenz Brunetti. Later it ended up in Vienna.

Also under the hammer was Napoleon's "personal drinking glass", the Dorotheum said, engraved with the letter "N" and an imperial crown, snapped up for 6,250 euros.

The lock of hair from Franz Joseph, the tragic figure who died in 1916 after 68 years on the throne just as his empire was crumbling in World War I, belonged to the estate of his valet, Eugen Ketterl.

Also sold on Thursday were the emperor's cufflinks for 8,750 euros, a cigar holder for 4,750 euros, a gold hunting pin for 6,875 euros and a handkerchief with his initials for 2,750 euros.

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