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Napoleon's secret coded Kremlin letter on sale

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  • Napoleon's secret coded Kremlin letter on sale

    Looks pretty interesting, worth a glance or two:

    FONTAINEBLEAU, France (AP) The single line of Napoleon's secret code told Paris of his desperate, last order against the Russians: "At three o'clock in the morning, on the 22nd I am going to blow up the Kremlin."
    By the time Paris received the letter three days later, the Russian czar's seat of power was in flames and the diminished French army was in retreat. Its elegantly calligraphic ciphers show history's famed general at one of his weakest moments.
    "My cavalry is in tatters, many horses are dying," dictated Napoleon, the once-feared leader showing the strain of his calamitous Russian invasion, which halved his army.
    The rare document dated Oct. 20, 1812, signed "Nap" in the emperor's hand and written in numeric code is up for auction Sunday at France's Fontainebleau Auction House.
    The Napoleon code, used only for top-secret letters when the French emperor was far from home, aimed to stop enemies from intercepting French army orders. The code was regularly changed to prevent it from being cracked.
    Napoleon must have dispatched his strongest horses and riders to carry the news: It only took three days to reach France's interior ministry 1,540 miles (2,480 kilometers) across Europe.
    "This letter is unique. Not only is it all in code, but it's the first time we see this different Napoleon. He went into Moscow in 1812 at the height of his power. He returned profoundly weakened. In Moscow, the Russians had fled days before and burnt down the city. There was no victory for Napoleon, nor were there any provisions for his starving, dying army," says Jean-Christophe Chataignier of the auction house.
    The only thing left for the weakened leader was to give the order to burn Russia's government buildings coded in the letter as "449, 514, 451, 1365..."
    http://news.yahoo.com/napoleons-secr...050329066.html
    "I am the Lorax, and I'll yell and I'll shout for the fine things on earth that are on their way out!"

    ~Dr. Seuss, The Lorax


    "The trouble with Scotland...is that it's full of Scots!"

  • #2
    A fascinating find.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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    • #3
      The letter was sold for the sum of 121,000 / $194,000 US,

      Not bad for a bit of paper written on by Nappy.

      Paul
      ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
      All human ills he can subdue,
      Or with a bauble or medal
      Can win mans heart for you;
      And many a blessing know to stew
      To make a megloamaniac bright;
      Give honour to the dainty Corse,
      The Pixie is a little shite.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
        The letter was sold for the sum of 121,000 / $194,000 US,

        Not bad for a bit of paper written on by Nappy.

        Paul
        Ten times the price they had estimated they'd get for it. Not bad at all.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Drewzy View Post
          Ten times the price they had estimated they'd get for it. Not bad at all.
          The estimated price was way too low. Millions of people would have been willing to pay $20,000 for such a unique historical artifact.

          The estimators should watch Pawn Stars every week like I do. I feel like I have a good handle now on price ranges for historical artifacts. My estimate for Nappie's letter was very close to what it eventually went for.


          Philip
          "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand Russell

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