History buffs turn an antique page, with this 1854 French Legion of Honor certificate signed by reigning Emperor Napoleon III. Following Napoleon I's exile from France, his son Napoleon II lived in exile in Vienna. Next in line of the Bonaparte family succession were his brothers Joseph and Louis, who both declined a return to public life. After three decades and several failed coup attempts, his nephew Charles-Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (d.1873) became President of France in 1848 and later declared himself Emperor Napoleon III in 1852. Known as Louis Napoleon, Napoleon III was a persistent reformer who made numerous improvements to French infrastructure, commerce, agriculture and military, particularly building a strong navy.
Presented is a deluxe display housing an 1854 Legion of Honor certificate signed by Napoleon III. Measuring approximately 18x16, this antique vellum document shows considerable wear on the perimeter, however the text and graphics retain a strong level of integrity. France's highest honor, the Legion of Honor was established by Napoleon I in 1802 and has been retained by all ensuing French regimes to date. This award was issued while France was allied with Britain during the Crimean War. Hand dated "12/10/1854", this certificate names "M. Eario, Louia, un Matelot du Valmy" a "Chevalier" for his "Service to the State". One of five degrees of the Order, Chevalier is the equivalent of a knight. Matelot translates to naval seaman and the Valmy was a French naval vessel, cited as the largest tall ship ever built in France.
Titled at top "Ordre Imperial De La Legion D'Honneur", this French language certificate is signed by Napoleon III as the Grand Master of the Order at bottom right and despite its ancient age, this signature displays distinct ("7") potency. The document is co-signed directly below Louis' endorsement by Grand Chancellor Major General Charles Lebrun, who has signed as "Duc de Plaisance" with even firmer ("8") potency. Formatted in shadowbox depth, the regal 45x38 display makes a majestic presentation. Keeping things in the family, this ensemble piece is arranged with the signed award at top left, with images of Napoleon I at right. Also present is a descriptive title card, detailing the tradition of the French Legion of Honor. Full photo LOA from JSA.
Frames included with lots: while we make every effort to protect the frames included in these lots during pre-auction storage and post-auction shipping, we are not responsible for any damage to the frames themselves, and no refunds will be given due to frame damage.
Due to considerable size and weight, this lot will incur a significant shipping fee.