Napoleon Bonaparte's DNA goes on sale at an auction next week to mark the 200th anniversary of his death. This is all by virtue of the blood-stained cloth that was placed over his body during an autopsy.

The former French emperor died on May 5, 1821, aged 51, on the southern Atlantic Ocean island of Saint Helena and left some interesting items behind.

Nearly 400 objects will be put on sale by auction house Osenat including a lock of Napoleon's hair, a pair of his silk stockings and a long-sleeved shirt embroidered with the letter 'N'.

It is expected that the blood-stained cloth alone is estimated to fetch up to $18,000. It comes with a note written in 1875 by the Duke of Bassano.

According to auction house Osenat's, "In this bloodstain you have the emperor's DNA. You cannot get more intimate than that!"

Many of the artefacts on sale were brought back from Longwood House, Napoleon's last residence on the island.

The collection also includes a fancy plate Napoleon used to dine and a crystal goblet and items of clothing.

Apparently Napoleon owned a number of shirts and was obsessed with cleanliness. He took up to four baths a day, got through at least 20 litres a month of cologne and was always changing his shirts.

His attire was part of a carefully crafted image. Napoleon and his 'bicorne' hats are indelibly linked in the public imagination. However, Napoleon changed the angle of the hat to make himself noticed.

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