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Napoleon's love letter to his mistress sold for 557,000 dollars at London auction

A love letter from Napoleon to his mistress Josephine sold for 276,000 pounds (EUR 409,000; US$557,000), more than five times its estimate, at a London auction that attracted spirited bidding for several rare items.

The letter is one of only three known to have survived from the future emperor's passionate three-month affair preceding his marriage to Josephine.

The sale price at Tuesday's auction at Christie's was more than five times the estimated top price of 50,000 pounds (EUR 74,000; US$100,000).

The total price bid for items from the collection of the late Albin Schram was 3,832,488 pounds (EUR 5,664,417; US$7,730,128), double the pre-sale estimate, Christie's said.

The letter from Napoleon to Josephine, given to Schram by a family member in 1973, was the inspiration for his extraordinary collection including letters by Winston Churchill, John Donne, Alexandr Pushkin and Isaac Newton.