SPAIN. Joseph Napoleon.
|Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 1203. Estimate $600.
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004.
Sold For $750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
1808-1813. AR 20 Reales (27.04 gm). Madrid mint. Antonio Rafael Navaez and Isidoro Ramos del Manzano, assayers. Dated 1810. JOSEPH NAP DEI GRATIA, head left; date below / HISPANIARUM ET IND REX (crowned M) AI, crowned coat-of-arms of Spain; large French eagle in center. C&C 13864; KM 92.2. Lustrous AU, only the slightest rub on the high points. ($600)
Joseph, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, was installed as king of Spain in 1808, when the emperor decided to remove the Bourbon king Charles IV as a lukewarm ally. In response, the Spaniards rose in revolt. Soon, British troops under Wellington landed in Portugal, and the conflict in the Iberian peninsula quickly became a monumental drain on the resources of the French Empire at a time when all resources were needed for subduing Russia. The painter Goya immortalized the brutalities committed by French troops trying to suppress the popular revolt in a series of graphic paintings that, for the first time in the history of art, presented the true horrors of war. As a monarch, Joseph proved to be both indecisive and obstinate, and lost his kingdom in the chaos following the defeat of the French army in Russia in 1813. In a final bout of incompetence, Joseph, assigned the defense of Paris, abandoned the city in the face of advancing Allied troops, when a stout defense of the capital may have allowed his brother to rally enough strength to effect a negotiated peace.