University Archives


Napoleon & War Minister Berthier Signed Letter of Recommendation from German Needle Manufacturer & Future Mayor

A 1p document in French signed by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) as "Nap" in the upper left margin, and also signed by French War Minister Louis-Alexandre Berthier (1753-1815) as "alex. Berthier" at upper right. The manuscript letter from a German supplicant named Cornelius von Guaita was written in Aachen, Germany on "30 fructidor an 12" or, September 17, 1804. Napoleon's signature, as well as the margin instructions "Send this to the War Minister in order to make a report," were recorded in Mainz, Germany on October 1, 1804. Numbered and docketed. Expected paper folds, Isolated edge darkening and an unobtrusive white stain in the lower right corner, else very good to near fine. 7.875" x 9.75."

Cornelius von Guaita [Gallicized to "Corneille de Guaita"] (ca. 1766-1821) was a prosperous needle manufacturer from Aachen. The city was in an area of northwestern Germany called the Département de la Roer which had been under French occupation since 1795. In this letter, Cornelius urged Napoleon to show preference to his brother-in-law, Anton von Heinsberg [Gallicized to "Antoine de Heinsberg"].

Cornelius de Guaita was an active member of his community and belonged to the Aachen Chamber of Commerce. He would be elected Mayor of Aachen in 1808. De Guaita faithfully followed Napoleonic policy. He was rewarded with a French Legion of Honor, the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle, and a French baronetcy.

Translated in part, with some punctuation silently corrected.


I just received the letter, of which you deigned to honor me the 27th instant; the Grace that I had solicited from His Majesty the Emperor was for my brother-in-law Antoine de Meinsberg; the protection that you have so graciously granted me at Aix-la-Chapelle [Aachen, Germany] was for him;

It would require more [time] to depict the emotion of joy that your letter inspired.

Deign to receive the testimony of my sincere gratitude; those of which I am penetrated by concerning His Majesty cannot be expressed.

Long live Napoleon! Long live the Emperor of the French;

I have the honor to be with respect
Your obedient Servant
Corneille de Guaita."

Louis-Alexandre Berthier, a career soldier, served under Napoleon in the Army of Italy during campaigns in the mid-1790s. Napoleon quickly recognized Berthier’s impressive organizational and logistical skills. Berthier would serve as Napoleon's Chief of Staff between 1796-1814, and as War Minister between 1804-1807.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Online Payments Accepted

Accepted Forms of Payment

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


We do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice, unless you inform us otherwise, immediately upon your receipt of invoice***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 5 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Westport, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

November 11, 2020 10:30 AM EST

Westport, CT, US

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25.0% and any applicable taxes and shipping

View full terms and conditions

From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000