Three princes of France with tragic destinies, a collection stamped with memories and results reflecting the historical significance of pieces, particularly the snuffboxes.
Maison Étienne Nitot et fils, Empire period, gift snuffbox in gold and blue enamel, the lid decorated with a portrait of Emperor Napoleon I, 9 x 5.5 x 2.2 cm, weight 173 g.
€572,773 honoured the memories of Louis XVII, the "Aiglon" and the Prince Imperial. These three young figures born to a better fate left their mark on France's history, but unhappily for their tragic early deaths. Emotion clearly affected collectors, who turned up in force to battle for their relics – but not any museums, unfortunately, which pre-empted none of them. Napoleon I would have been proud: memories linked with his family history carried the day, confirming the predictions of the expert Bernard Croissy. It must be said that the lots included some remarkably executed gems, particularly this gold and blue enamel snuffbox made by Étienne Nitot et Fils as a present. Another snuffbox, this time in tortoiseshell with a lid featuring an agate cameo of an antique-style man, garnered €33,488, while a third, also in tortoiseshell with a portrait of Madame Mère, fetched €15,456. These highly refined pieces illustrate the importance of this type of item among the presents made by royal and imperial courts, showing how they helped to spread the dynastic image.