Royal Blood-Stained Cloth from Louis XVI’s Execution at Auction

The thing for which King Louis XVI is most famous for is, sadly, his demise. He started his life as an acclaimed member of the French royalty, and ended up the country’s only executed king in 1793. His death marked the end of an era and over 1000 years of monarchy. After this dramatic event in the country’s history, France was declared a republic.

The king’s execution was a deeply symbolic act, for which the people gathered in large numbers to witness and maybe even take a souvenir or two. Don’t picture any skillfully crafted sculptures, paintings, or colorful miniatures. The souvenirs they took were much more gruesome than that: strands of the dead king’s hair, or even pieces of cloth soaked with his royal blood.

One such blood stained cloth has somehow made it into the 21st century, and soon history enthusiasts will have the rare privilege of bidding for it. During a Coutau Begarieauction held in the capital of France (where else, indeed?) on April 3, the rather morbid piece of history will be sold in a miniature coffin. Bidders, however, will need to get past the doubt that this is actually a fabric that “witnessed” the historical execution of Louis XVI.