Ever wanted to own one of Marie Antoinette’s prized possessions? Piece of cake. French action house Paris Druout held an extensive auction of items belonging to several French royal families on Oct. 17, one day after the 219th anniversary of the French queen’s public beheading. Some 350 artifacts from a bygone monarchy were up for sale, including portraits of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, busts, porcelain, a framed sleeve from a tunic she wore in prison, and one very lucrative pair of footwear.
A set of heeled green and pink silk shoes belonging to the last pre-Revolutionary French queen sold to an unidentified bidder for a whopping €50,000 (about $65,600). That bid far exceeded the estimated price of €10,000 (about $13,000). Though Marie Antoinette owned many pairs of shoes, she gifted these slippers to a manservant, Alexandre-Bernard Ju-Des-Retz, who passed them down to his descendants.
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The winning bid was placed over the phone. The shoes, which include a certificate of authenticity, represent a mere fraction of the Austria-born queen’s wardrobe. She allegedly compensated for a lack of affection from her initially impotent husband by spending lavishly on shoes and clothing. At one point, her dresses were said to fill three rooms in Versailles; that she had the nickname “Madame Deficit” and the monarchy was soon equated to decadence is hardly surprising. Luckily, the angry mobs in the Women’s March spared most of her raiments.
The shoes cost a pretty penny, but they’re not nearly the most expensive item sold at auction. That distinction belongs to Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress that she wore in 1962, which sold for $1,267,500 in 1999. Now that’s what we call high (priced) fashion.