Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

People - Entertainment

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

People - Entertainment

Article excerpt

Napoleon letter fetches big bucks

A secret code letter sent by French emperor Napoleon boasting that his multinational forces would blow up Moscow's Kremlin sold at auction Sunday for $243,500 10 times its estimated presale price.

A Paris museum, the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts, was finalizing its purchase of the Oct.

20, 1812, document with elegantly calligraphic ciphers.

The sale price, which includes fees, far outstripped the pre- sale estimate of $19,500, according to Fontainebleau Auction House south of Paris.

Experts say the letter is unique, written in a numeric code that Napoleon often used to throw off would-be interceptors notably when he was conveying battle plans. The letter's content also revealed the strains on Napoleon of his calamitous Russian invasion.

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