Marriage Contract between Napoleon I and Josephine Sold at Auction


Napoleon’s marriage license to wed Joséphine de Beauharnais (née Marie-Josèphe-Rose Tascher de La Pagerie, in Trois-Îlets, Martinique) in 1796 was sold for €437,500 at auction house Osenat, in Paris. It was bought by the privately-owned Museum of Letters and Manuscripts [Musée de lettres et manuscrits]. The manuscript was Josephine’s copy, which she signed on March 8, 1796. The couple married on the next day. Because the marriage remained childless, it was annulled in 1810. See excerpts here:

The first article of the contract that seals the union between Napoleon and Josephine de Beauharnais states that there would be no “communal property” and that the “future husband and wife would not be liable for the debts and mortgages the other.”

The Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris has acquired two other important documents in the same sale. On the one hand, a set consisting of an arrest warrant and a release, dated 11 days later, against Bonaparte during the time of the Convention (1792-1795) [. . .] These two letters are from August 9 and 20, 1794 and were purchased for 118,750 euros.


The other piece is a letter signed by the painter Jacques-Louis David—a request to modify his most famous work, “The Coronation of Napoleon,” currently on display at the Louvre. [. . .] In this letter, the artists writes, “The king has no desire that I cannot fulfill.” Napoleon had asked him to include his mother, Letizia Bonaparte, to the painting, although she was not present at the coronation ceremony because she did not get along with the emperor’s wife.

Excerpts (are my translation from the Spanish version) from

[Many thanks to Sophie Maríñez for bringing this item to our attention.]

Also see,, and

For museum page, see

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