Napoleon's battle sword up for auction

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After more than 200 years in the family, the gold-encrusted sword Napoleon carried into battle in Italy will be auctioned off Sunday, across the street from one of his imperial castles.

The intricately decorated blade is 32 inches long and curves gently -- an inspiration Napoleon drew from his Egyptian campaign, auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat said.

"He noticed that the Arab swords, which were curved, were very effective in cutting off French heads" and ordered an imitation made upon his return, Osenat explained.

The last of Napoleon's swords in private hands, it has an estimated value of at least $1.6 million, according to the Osenat auction house managing the sale.

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