Wednesday, April 16, 2014

By a Hair

Well, here's an interesting bit! On Tuesday, April 15, a lock of Napoleon's hair was stolen from a museum in Melbourne, Australia. The nemesis of the British Royal Navy during the Enlightened Age, Napoleon was referred to as "Old Bony" by the Brits, and the focus of many a battle at sea in the Channel, or along the coast of France, the blockade at Brest.
Police said that the thief, or thieves, cracked open a cabinet and stole among the items, a frame that housed Bonaparte's hair, a ring, a ribbon inscribed by Napoleon in 1815, and a snuff box. The perpetrators entered through a bathroom window of the Briars Park home/museum where the collection of artifacts was kept.  The collection was put together by an Englishman Alexander Balcombe, who had met Old Bony when he (Bony) was exiled on the island of St. Helena from 1815 until his death in 1821. The Balcombe and Bonaparte families knew each other fairly well despite the political situation. Australia was a long way from England, I guess!! 

Ten items were stolen in all, and happily some have been already recovered, but not the hair, and that is really not replaceable. Hair was a very personal and intimate gift at the time, and it's value is priceless when connected with sentiment or personal relationship.

Officers in Melbourne surmise the items are probably destined for a private collection, and stolen purposely for that collection! The plot thickens! Time will tell.

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