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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 00:22 GMT 01:22 UK
Napoleon letter fetches top price
A letter by Napoleon [Copyright: Christie's Images Limited]
Napoleon sent his future wife Josephine kisses through this letter
A love letter from Napoleon to his future wife, Josephine, has fetched some 276,000 ($556,000; 409,000 euros) at an auction in London.

In the letter - one of only three known to have been sent to Josephine by the French emperor before their marriage - he apologises after a furious row.

It was among a collection of letters from famous people which sold for a total of 3.8m ($7.6m; 5.6m euros).

It belonged to an Austrian banker who died in Switzerland 2005.

Albin Schram had begun amassing the letters in the early 1970s and kept them in a cabinet in the laundry room of his villa.

The sale included letters by Peter the Great of Russia, Sir Isaac Newton, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Sir Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway.

'Three kisses'

Mr Scram was reportedly inspired to start his collection when given the letter from Napoleon to Josephine, the Viscountess of Beauharnais, by a family member.

The early love letter was written after a heated argument.

"I send you three kisses - one on your heart, one on your mouth and one on your eyes," Napoleon wrote.

The letter had been valued at 50,000 ($100,000), but ended up fetching five times the pre-sale estimate.

The manuscript by Sir Isaac Newton sold for 204,000 ($411,000), four times the expected value.

One of the last letters to be written by Mahatma Gandhi was withdrawn from the sale on Monday, because Mr Schram's executors had agreed that it should be returned directly to the Indian government.

In it, Gandhi is said to have pleaded for greater tolerance towards Muslims in newly-independent India.

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