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Since 2018, the Souvenirs Historiques department has been bringing new life to auctions at Maison MILLON. This auction department focuses on objects that make up the history of France and the personalities who forged it. Do you own a manuscript signed by a royal hand? Do you dream of a miniature with a portrait of Napoleon? Then you're in the right sales department.


Every day, expert Maxime Charron and department manager Mariam Varsimashvili help you to discover pieces of history, satisfy the needs of discerning collectors and enrich the collections of national institutions.



Auction department dedicated to historical memorabilia


Passionate about history and the objects associated with it, Maxime Charron brings together in this department all items relating to the great figures of France and elsewhere, or to major historical events.


The Souvenirs of History department includes Sèvres porcelain mugs that belonged to noble, royal or imperial families, miniature portraits of great figures, manuscripts of great minds and medals that belonged to the great generals of history.


Whether as souvenirs or priceless works of art, it is not unusual for French museums to pre-empt these pieces of history at auction:


  • The Ministry of Justice pre-empted a rare velvet box for €3,380. The velvet box bore the cipher of King Louis XVIII.


  • A cassette belonging to Queen Marie-Antoinette was pre-empted after being sold for €6,500. This cassette, now in the Musée de la Conciergerie, belonged to the Queen when she was at the Conciergerie, and is now part of her collection.


  • Original drawings from the trial of the Dreyfus Affair sold for €7,150 and were pre-empted by the Musée de l'Histoire du Judaïsme.


Calendar of sales of historical memorabilia


The Historical Memorabilia auction department organises at least :


  • Two Historical Souvenirs auctions per year, held in the Drouot district, in the presence of the auctioneer and presenting the finest works.


  • Two La face des Rois prestige auctions


  • Two Souvenirs Historiques auctions a year, held online.



These auctions highlight the diversity of works of art and their prices. You will find paintings and historical documents in particular.


The works presented and offered for sale span the centuries, from the 17th to the 20th century, and are linked to the Bourbons, the Empire, Napoleon, the Orléans family, French and foreign nobility, and the ruling families of Europe.


All kinds of objects can be found here: display items, porcelain, painted portraits, manuscripts, military decorations, weapons, commemorative objects... Faced with such diversity, the knowledge of our experts and auctioneers is an incomparable asset.


La Face des rois, part of Souvenirs historiques :


Twice a year, the department organises the "La Face des Rois" Masters sales. These feature a selection of around twenty lots based on royal portraits:


"Ever since King John II the Good of France, heads of state have sought by every means possible to capture their features on canvas. By commissioning renowned artists, they have left posterity their best profile, and then their face - often idealised. However, unlike their fellow sculptors and medal engravers, painters were unable to follow in the footsteps of their ancient predecessors. And with good reason: the canvas did not become a medium of representation, on the scale of creation (and with the obvious exception of cave or a fresco paintings), until much later. So the references are very different from those used for marble busts or coins. The Bourbon dynasty set the first rules for official painting, in a typology that was never denied after them. Louis XIV himself, in his large portrait in coronation dress by Hyacinthe Rigaud, brought together all the regalia and symbols of power around his person. The revolutionary episode failed to surpass the exercise. Once in power, Napoleon presented himself as a worthy successor to the previous sovereigns, under the brushes of Gérard, Lefèvre, Girodet, Ingres, Appiani and, of course, David. In 1812, David painted a less solemn portrait of the Emperor in his Tuileries study, wearing the uniform of a colonel of the Guard and surrounded by books. From then on, there was nothing sacred about him, but a modern man whose actions were at the service of all. After him, from Napoleon III (by Winterhalter) to our most recent photographed presidents, all appear in civilian costume, in front of a library or in a less formal setting. In this sense, as in others, republican France, heir to kings and emperors, has managed to combine tradition and innovation


David Chanteranne Historian and journalist, Director of the Rueil-Malmaison Heritage Sites




Historical souvenirs at auction for all prices


From classic miniature portraits to a lock of hair, Souvenirs Historiques items can be worth anything from a few dozen euros to several thousand.


What makes these items so special is their emotional value. An object owned by Marie-Antoinette in the Temple, or by Napoleon in exile... will carry far more weight than the same object with no history.


Each object can have a historical value that can increase its selling price. For example, a Goyard travel trunk sold for €12,000. What made it special was that the leather trunk was marked "Duchess of Windsor" and was used by the royal couple on their trips to New York.


Souvenirs Historiques auctions attract a public of connoisseurs and collectors, but they are also an opportunity to rediscover a portrait of an ancestor who will return to his or her family.



Some results of Historical Souvenirs auctions


Historical Souvenirs auctions boast some fine results:



  • Une Description de l'Egypte, ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Egypte pendant l'expédition de l'armée française, Imprimerie Impériale de Paris, 1809-1828 sold for 61,000 euros. This first edition came from the library of a Conseiller d'Etat, Pair de France and Chamberlain to Napoleon 1st.



  • Sold for €40,000, a portrait of Bonaparte crossing the Alps at the Grand Saint Bernard pass delighted collectors. Painted by the studio of Jacques-Louis David, it came from an old French collection.



  • An enamelled yellow gold box sold for €7,000. Entirely enamelled, it was a gift from Queen Louis of Belgium, daughter of Louis-Philippe, probably to Henriette d'Oultremont.



  • A pair of royal vases in Sèvres porcelain sold for €48,000. Decorated with portraits of King Louis Philippe and Queen Marie-Amélie, these vases date from the July Monarchy and were painted by Moriot, the famous miniaturist.



  • An autographed letter by Albert Einsten sold for 8,700 euros. The letter was addressed to Jean Perrin, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics.



  • John HAYES (?, 1786-London, 1866), after Jacques-Louis DAVID (1748-1825). Emperor Napoleon I in his study at the Tuileries, Oil on canvas, circa 1815. H. 125 x W. 100 cm sold for 70,000 euros



Services offered by the Historical Memorabilia department


The Souvenirs Historiques department sets out to discover objects. Constantly on the lookout for objects and paintings, our experts like to satisfy a clientele of well-informed collectors. They can help you identify your objects and tell you what they are worth. A simple souvenir? A historical object? Many treasures are discovered every year.


Wouldyou like a free, confidential estimate? Our team is there for you, with no obligation on your part.


Our team is here to help and advise you, whether you are building up a collection or looking to sell at the best price.

Get a free estimate now

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Other auctions in the specialities “SOUVENIRS HISTORIQUES”

Sold to €160,000

Sold the 2023/11/24


Lot 218

Sold to €75,000

Sold the 2024/04/25

Antonio CANOVA (Possagno, 1757-Venise, 1822), atelier de.

Lot 7

Sold to €70,000

Sold the 2023/11/23

Jacques-Louis DAVID (Paris, 1748-Brussels, 1825), workshop of.

Lot 15

Sold to €70,000

Sold the 2023/05/25

John HAYES (?, 1786-Londres, 1866), d’après Jacques-Louis DAVID

Lot 14

Sold to €68,000

Sold the 2023/11/24


Lot 227

Sold to €50,000

Sold the 2023/05/25

Xavier Alphonse MONCHABLON (Avillers, 1835-Paris, 1907)

Lot 15

Sold to €45,000

Sold the 2023/05/25

École française du début du XVIIIe siècle, d’après Hyacinthe RIGAUD (1659-1743).

Lot 5

Sold to €40,000

Sold the 2023/05/25

François QUESNEL (Edimbourg, c.1543-Paris, 1616)

Lot 1

Sold to €25,000

Sold the 2023/05/25

Georges ROUGET (1783-1869, élève de David), entourage de.

Lot 11

Sold to €24,000

Sold the 2023/05/26

Athalie Josephine Mélanie DU FAGET (Les Vans, 1811-?)

Lot 263

Sold to €22,000

Sold the 2023/05/25

Importante paire de candélabres royaux en bronze doré provenant du Palais de Saint-Cloud.

Lot 177

Sold to €20,200

Sold the 2023/05/26


Lot 242

Sold to €20,000

Sold the 2023/11/23

Maurice RÉALIER-DUMAS (1860-1928)

Lot 11

Sold to €19,000

Sold the 2024/04/25

Laurent DABOS (Toulouse, 1761-Paris, 1835)

Lot 5

Sold to €19,000

Sold the 2024/04/25

Gustav Julius GRÜN (Settin, 1823-Berlin, 1896)

Lot 13

Sold to €18,000

Sold the 2023/11/24


Lot 269

Sold to €18,000

Sold the 2022/06/11


Lot 183

Sold to €14,000

Sold the 2022/11/25

Horace VERNET (1789-1863), atelier de.

Lot 45

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