New Hope, Pennsylvania – Napoleon’s elder brother, Joseph Bonaparte, ruled Naples (1806-1808) and Spain (1808-1813), but more than 200 items belonging to the king were hidden at the end of a stalemate, in a secluded development in the small American town of New Hope : At Peter Tucci’s house.
The office of this sentimental collector of the former king is a veritable museum of Josefino.
On the ground, documents and folders of the cases he carries as a lawyer remain in good condition, but the walls are an overwhelming album of original letters written or signed by Jose I of Spain (1808-1813) that have been added to dozens of others. Objects of a frustrated Spanish king that Tucci reveals as a warlock with excitement that stirs up a dumbfounded crowd.
The phrase “Spaniards, gather you all, stick to my throne, let internal quarrels not steal my time, do not distract me from the means I want to use only for your happiness” can be read at a royal party presiding over one of the walls of the room – dated in Vitoria on July 12th 1808 – and is one of the many chambers that the king deployed throughout the Spanish territories to announce his name “King of Spain and the Indies.”
For the occasion, Tucci hung from his front porch, not far from the basketball basket, a flag with the emblem of Jose I, who was himself a bourbon shield but replaced a flower not for the Napoleonic eagle.
The mahogany chair, a handful of coins, including three 80 riyals gold minted with the face of the ill-fated king in the profile or three gold pieces from the royal tableware of Jose I, with the coat of arms printed, are some of the treasures that a dedicated collector collects in the quarter The last of the century.
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Why do we collect things from JOSÉ I DE ESPAÑA?
“I was reading an article in Philadelphia magazine over 25 years ago saying: Did you know that Napoleon’s brother lives in Philadelphia? Coins, letters, antiques and furniture related to Jose Bonaparte, ”says Tucci, who jokes that he spends time on his“ hobby ”because he does not play golf.
After the defeat of Napaloin at Waterloo (1815), Jose Bonaparte was also forced into exile and chose the United States, where he lived in Philadelphia, before buying some land in Bordentown, New Jersey, where he built a mansion in which the twenty degree would reside. Years.
In addition, Tucci admits that he has always been interested in the history of France and asserts that with Jose I, French history has mixed with that of Spain and Italy.
“I am also a lawyer, so there is a natural affinity there, and moreover, my family name Tucci is Italian and my ancestors lived in the part of the Kingdom of Naples where he ruled, so they were his subjects when he was king, so there is also this little connection,” he comments.
Since then he has investigated, dived into antique dealers, contacted experts, attended auctions, and collected Bonapartin’s small treasures, most of which were accompanied by documents attesting to the authenticity of their origin.
More than 200 objects related to Jose Bonaparte
“Among the artifacts, coins and everything,” he says, “there are probably more than 200 objects and books (on Jose Bonaparte) maybe more than 200 as well.”
In this museum, Tucci also saves from his older brother Bonaparte’s tuft of hair to some things he has not yet been able to verify 100% authenticity, such as a small pistol or the dress fabric of Maria Letizia Ramolino, mothers of the Bonaparte family.
Among the letters that cover most of the walls, the signature of the historical figure stands out at various times, when he was a lawyer and diplomat, when he became king, and when in the United States he took the title Count of Survilliers.
In a small room at the entrance to Tochi’s home prevails a breathtaking landscape of Pointe Breeze, the area where Bonaparte stayed in Bordentown, painted by Charles B. Lawrence in 1927 in which Tucci proudly recounts how it can be appreciated. From the palace of the deposed king.
The books are from the largest library in the United States
His last holdings are five books from a library of more than 8,000 volumes that the Earl of Survilliers raised at his residence and earned the reputation of being the largest in the United States.
“I was looking for nearly 25 years to find a book from a library of 8,000 books, and recently, I was lucky enough to find many of them, but it took 25 years to find my first book,” he says before showing two volumes of Jack’s novel “Pablo and Virginia” Henri Bernardine de Saint-Pierre from 1806, and the 1785 edition of the poem “Liberated Jerusalem” by Torquato Tasso.
But of all the elements, Tucci highlights the simplicity of a small button with the face of Fernando VII, which he keeps next to the real coins where they are barely noticed. A button that was hidden in court by those who championed the return of the Bourbons.
“One of the most interesting pieces is this button that I showed you before with the King of Spain on it, because it was a very subtle way of protesting by the Spaniards against the Bonaparte government,” by which the Spanish people would end up freeing themselves to welcome the ill-fated Ferdinand VII.