Sexy walking sticks, 19th-century condoms… going, going, gone!
A watercolour of Napoleon Bonaparte sporting a large erection and a 19th-century condom were among the objects auctioned on Monday in a large sale of erotica. Almost 900 lots came under the hammer for over half a million euros at Paris's venerable Drouot auction house.
Dating from ancient Egypt to the early 20th century, the lion’s share of the 915 sketches, paintings, sculptures, books and curiosities in this show come from a single private collection, assembled over 35 years.
French and foreign bidders, many from Asia, bought eighty percent of the lots for a total of around 650,000 euros.
The 19th century condom fetched 4,337 euros, seven times its asking price.
Other bidders snapped up lacquered pill boxes, pipe and cigarette holders and walking sticks adorned with nudes, cavorting couples and their splendid genitalia… often concealed inside secret drawers or behind more respectable lids and covers.
A collection of mid-19th century daguerreotypes, among the world’s first known nude photographs, sold for well above their estimates with prices of up to 24,000 euros.
From France’s now-forbidden brothels, artefacts included chips used to pay prostitutes instead of coins and tiny daggers designed to spear overbearing clients.
“The works collected from around the world are a testament to the universal and timeless nature of erotica,” said Drouot's EVE Leroy, whose catalogue was forbidden for sale to people under 18 years old.