France to Sell Historic Furniture to Help Local Hospitals—Potentially Including Some Pieces From Louis-Philippe I’s Reign

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The sale will include about 100 pieces dating from the 19th century.

Countries are coming together to support their inhabitants amid the spread of COVID-19 from extending unemployment benefits to providing free meals to those in need. But France just came up with a unique way to support its hospitals: selling antique furniture to raise funds.

Local media is reporting that the national furniture collection—The Mobilier National—is creating a list of items in storage that will be auctioned off this September. The exact details are currently unknown, but reports suggest there could be around 100 items dating back to the 19th century. Many are rumored to be from Louis-Philippe I’s reign from 1830 and 1848. 

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Director of the Mobilier National, Hervé Lemoine, revealed that the items would be carefully selected by a group of curators to avoid “squandering the family silver,” he told Le Figaro. The auction will take place on the Journées du Patrimoine (heritage days) over the weekend of September 20-21. Proceeds will go to the Foundation for Paris Hospitals and French Hospitals, where first lady Brigitte Macron is the president.

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Also, Lemoine announced the organization would commission restoration projects and new works to support French artisans and traditional craftsmen who have been forced to stop working during the coronavirus lockdown.

“Our first action will be to commission work to restore all the national collection by appealing to all craftspeople,” he told FranceInfo. “The second will be to set up a special acquisitions committee to which young designers and creators can suggest their ideas and projects, that we can buy then make.”

In the meantime, another sale is taking place in France to benefit local hospitals. Drawings by the famous artist Albert Uderzo will be auctioned off in May with estimates ranging from €80,000-€120,000 ($87,500-$131,000) for some works. 

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“My husband was deeply touched by the terrible healthcare crisis that we are going through,” said the artist’s wife, Ada. “A month after his passing, my daughter Sylvie and I were determined to carry out what he would have done himself: by supporting and thanking caregivers, the new heroes in every French village!”