France Rimbaud: Gun that wounded poet sells for over €430,000

The gun used on poet Arthur Rimbaud Image copyright AFP

The gun that wounded French poet Arthur Rimbaud has been sold for €434,500 (£370,000; $460,000) at an auction in the capital Paris.

It was used by Rimbaud’s lover, fellow French poet Paul Verlaine, during a heated argument between the pair in Brussels on 10 July 1873.

The revolver sold for more than seven times the estimate, according to auctioneers Christie’s.

It is held by some to be the most famous gun in French history.

The two men are known for having an absinthe-fuelled affair, while Verlaine was married and Rimbaud was still a teenager.

They were at a hotel in the Belgian capital when a distraught Verlaine reportedly yelled “Here’s how I will teach you how to leave!” at the 18-year-old and fired twice with the six-shot Lefaucheux revolver.

One bullet hit Rimbaud in the wrist while the other struck the wall, ricocheting into the chimney.

Verlaine was sentenced to two years in a Belgian prison after the shooting.

The revolver was returned to the gunshop in Brussels where Verlaine had bought it, and there it remained until 1981 when the shop closed down and it was bought by a collector.

Rimbaud returned home to Charleville in northern France and finished Une Saison en Enfer (A Season in Hell), a book that became one of his most famous works.

He died of illness in the southern city of Marseille at the age of 37, after a business career which included trading firearms in Africa.

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