Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Napoleon's Treasure

In October 1812, Napoleon’s troops were leaving Moscow. They looted not only the citizens’ private houses but also the Kremlin and Moscow’s churches.

They even removed the gilded cross from the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Leaving Moscow, all of Napoleon’s soldiers were loaded with stolen valuables.
October 25th 1812 was the first day of Napoleon's retreat. Over 14,000 mounted cavalry, nearly 90,000 troops and some 12,000 non-combatant and ill soldiers passed through the Kaluga Gate - a total of 116,000 people and 569 hardware items.
Bonaparte ordered his troops to blow up the Kremlin in revenge for the three unsuccessful offers of peace to Russian Emperor Alexander I. As a result, several Kremlin towers were ruined, as well as some of its walls, the Arsenal’s building, the Assumption Belfry and the Filaret Annex next to the Ivan the Great Bell Tower.

The transportation of the emperor’s loot required 200 horse-drawn wagons. Napoleon had two wagon trains: the “golden train,” carrying valuables looted from the Kremlin; and the iron train, full of ancient weaponry. As they retreated, Napoleon's exhausted army was forced to abandon their spoils.

Historians believe the valuables were thrown into one of the lakes west of the Smolensk Region.
Over the years there have been many attempts to find the abandoned loot. The lakes around Smolensk in particular is among the most popular destination for seekers of the Napoleonic hoard.
Archaeologists excavated a mass grave in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2015. The jumbled bones, haphazardly oriented, were punctuated with finds of shoes and clothing. Buttons revealed the identity of the dead: over 40 different regiments were represented, all from Napoleon’s Grande Armée.

Archaeologists had found the final resting place of over three thousand men who perished during Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow in 1812.
About 675,000 men of Napoleon's Grand Army set out for Moscow to conquer Russia in June 1812.

By the time of the retreat from Moscow, the army, which had swelled to 900,000, was reduced to 100,000.
When the retreating troops finally reached Vilnius in Lithuania, Napoleon's Grand Army was not so grand: they had been reduced to about 50,000 vermin-bitten, diseased, cold, and starving men.
As the European soldiers died of starvation, disease and the cold, locals burned the bodies. But the stench was so great that the locals started burying them en masse, using trenches the soldiers had dug on their way to Russia as graves.

In 2007 one of Napoleon's swords was sold for more than US$6.4 million. The sword, used in battle some 200 years ago, is believed to be the last of Napoleon's blades in private hands.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Unusual Cars at RM Sotheby's 2016 Amelia Island auction

The Toyota 2000 GT may be one of the few Japanese cars capable of drawing six figures.

RM Sotheby's had a 1967 example finished in white, one of just 62 left-hand drive examples that were sold new in the U.S. The auction house claims that it is considered to be the most authentic 2000 GT in the U.S. $797,000
1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S.

Prices of Porsches are going nowhere but straight up. RM Sotheby's offered an example from 1997, one of just 183 Turbo S models built for the U.S. This one displays 13,379 miles and is said to be a numbers-matching car.

With a 424-hp engine, these were essentially supercars back in the day. $495,000
1962 Rolls-Royce Phantom V Limousine by Park Ward

This 1962 Rolls-Royce Phantom V Limousine by Park Ward is an example with 20,000 miles. That's low mileage even for the typical royal deferred-maintenance-mobiles, and it's rare.

1978 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser

A 1978 example, the subject of a frame-off restoration. 1978 was the first year for front disc brakes on these, even though the basic design dates back to the 1950s. A 4.2-liter inline-six lives under the hood, good for 135 hp. $82,000
1985 Ford RS200 Evolution

The Group B racer is famous for holding the Guinness record for "fastest accelerating car in the world" for some time. This particular RS200 is one of just 24 built to Evolution spec and packs a 600-hp 2.1-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, connected to a five-speed manual. The clock showed less than 450 kilometers, which makes it one of the least used RS200s in the world. The car was originally sold to a Texas oilman who kept it as a collectible. $522,000
1963 Volkswagen Type 2 '23-Window' Super Deluxe Microbus with Eriba Puck camper

The VW boasts a 50-hp four-cylinder. The Bus itself received a bare-metal restoration in the 1990s. $159,500

Turquoise Hill Resources - TRQ.t

Turquoise Hill Resources - TRQ.t is advancing a 66% interest in the flagship Oyu Tolgoi Project, one of the world's largest copper-gold-silver mines.

The Oyu Tolgoi Project represents an investment of over $ 8 billion

On February 27, 2017 the company released

Steeve Thibeault, Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.'s chief financial officer, will retire, effective May 23, 2017. Turquoise Hill is in the process of initiating a search for Mr. Thibeault's successor. An announcement will be made in due course.