On October 8 in Versailles, Osenat (24% buyer’s premium) held the first of a series of auctions devoted to the collection of the late Jean Louis Noisiez, entrepreneur and founder of the company GSF (Groupe Services France).
The collection of antique arms, militaria and historic souvenirs was assembled over a 50-year period.
The highlight of this first 163- lot dispersal proved to be the 18th century baton of a marshal of France which was presented by Louis XVI to Jacques-Philippe de Choiseul, Comte de Stainville (1727-89), on June 13, 1783.
De Choiseul was born in Luneville, France, and had a distinguished military career.
As a young man he accompanied his elder brother to Vienna where the latter had followed the Duke of Lorraine, François III, into the service of Maria Theresa.
When his brother became one of Louis XV’s leading ministers, and Lorraine was destined to become French, Stainville left Austria for service in France. He received the rank of lieutenant-general and distinguished himself in numerous actions during the Seven Years War. He was appointed commander of the Grenadiers de France regiment and inspector general of the infantry, serving in the Haut-Rhin army until peace came.
He went on to become governor general of Alsace and died shortly after attending the opening of the Estates General in 1789.
The 20in (52cm) long baton, which has a wooden core, is covered with royal blue velvet that is studded with 48 fleur de lys embroidered in gold thread.
It has gold rings at each end, one engraved Terror Belli Decus Pacis the other Jacques-Philippe de Choiseul, comte de Stainville 13 Juin 1783, XVIme du Règne de Louis XVI. The baton is contained in a silk-lined gilded red Morocco case inscribed Bâton de Maréchal de France.
It sold for €100,000 (£86,955) against a guide of €40,000-60,000.
The second auction from the Jean Louis Noisiez collection takes place on November 19 in Fontainebleau and will feature a signature item of Napoleonic memorabilia: one of the Emperor’s black felt bicorn hats.
The First Empire period hat has a provenance to Colonel Baillon, the quartermaster at the Emperor’s Palace, and remained in his family until the end of the 19th century.
It was later acquired by Jean Brunon in 1928, passing down through the Brunon family by descent until it was acquired by Noisiez.
Napoleon is thought to have had around 120 of these signature bicorn hats and when they come up for sale they often make very substantial sums.
Back in 2014, for example, a hat from a collection of Napoleonic memorabilia formed by the Grimaldi dynasty of Monaco was sold at an auction held by Osenat in conjunction with Binoche and Giquello for €1.5m. And more recently in September 2021 another bicorn was sold at Sotheby’s Paris for €1m.
The hat from the Noisiez collection has an estimate of €600,000-800,000.
The third sale from the collection is devoted to coins and takes place on November 23.
£1 = €1.15