After his game-changing defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the British island of St. Helena, where it is now believed that he was ultimately poisoned with arsenic. The fact that his captors ended his life prematurely seems like a pretty heinous act, but hold up!!!
It seems that Napoleon’s doctor removed his penis during the autopsy, and then gave it to a priest, Vignali, who then smuggled it to Corsica.
Wisely recognizing the value of such an objet, the priest’s family passed it along until 1916, when a British collector got a hold of it, along with other pieces in the so-called “Vignali Collection”.
We might say that Napoleon’s penis was under-appreciated. Having only been displayed once (New York, 1927), it was ultimately mocked for its small size, and was referred to by curious spectators as a small piece of leather – or a shriveled eel. The penis was gradually separated from other artifacts in the Collection, leaving it to fend for itself. One of my favorite incidents occurred in 1969, in which London’s famed auction house, Christie’s, failed to make the sale – thus inspiring one newspaper to write, “Not tonight, Josephine!”.
In 1977, the penis found itself on the auction block once again, where it was snatched up by America’s leading urologist Dr. John Lattimer. Appalled by the utter lack of respect, he wanted to see Napoleon’s manhood removed from circulation, thus giving it the proper esteem that it so clearly deserved.
And what, you might ask, is the exact geographic location of this penis?
It’s in New Jersey. You just can’t make that up.
Thank goodness, this epic story also comes in the form of an ENTIRE BOOK!!! Which I haven’t read yet, but I absolutely plan on it. I’m going to blindly suggest that everyone read Tony Perrottet’s “Napoleon’s Privates,” as well.
Additionally, you can view this clip in which Perrottet visits the bidniss in New Jersey. Unfortunately, out of respect for Dr. Lattimer’s wishes, they were not allowed to film the penis. However, they do offer a melodramatic artist’s recreation, which makes watching the otherwise relatively dull video totally worth it.