New York (AFP) – A pair of pistols that once belonged to the Latin American independence hero Simon Bolivar sold for $1.8 million at the auction house Christie’s in New York.
The guns’ provenance prompted special interest. They were a present from the French aristocrat the Marquis de Lafayette, who fought in the French and American revolutions and believed Bolivar — who led the liberation of several states from Spanish rule — shared common Enlightenment ideals.
He sent Bolivar the two ceremonial pistols, made by royal gunsmiths at Versailles, in 1825.
Contained inside a wooden box, the weapons are inlaid with gold and silver and embossed with symbols from Greek and Roman mythology.
Born into a wealthy family in Caracas, Bolivar led the troops who forced the Spanish to surrender control of the Captaincy General of Venezuela in 1813.
He went on to play a decisive role in the establishment of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, whose name is derived from his.
He died in 1830 at age 47.