The penis was reported to be cut off shortly after Napoleon's death in 1821 by autopsy. Several owner companies, including A. S. W. Rosenbach, have since gone through it, showing it in New York City in 1927.
The Journey Begins
Napoleon’s doctor, according to Perrottet, took the penis after Napoleon’s autopsy after he died in 1821 on the island of St. Helena. The imperial leader was banished there and died of stomach cancer, most certainly. Shortly before the doctor’s assassination, he gave the penis to a priest, who smuggled it into Corsica. In 1916, the penis ended up in the possession of a British collector.
According to Perrottet, the French government declined to purchase the penis, and it became a public artefact for the next 50 years. An American rare books dealer who had purchased the penis in 1924 set it on display in New York in 1927.
Finally, in 1977, a doctor and professor agreed to purchase Napoleon’s dismembered penis for $3,000, putting an end to its popularity. Lattimer kept the penis under his bed and declined to reveal it to anybody who asked to see it, not wanting to attract any further attention to it.
Rumors have spread since then that a subsequent bid to buy the penis for $100,000 was made. If the deal is genuine, the overall return on investment will be about 3,200 percent. It would have been a better gamble than Microsoft, or even Apple if Lattimer had wanted to sell the penis.
Lattimer left the organ to his daughter, Evan, when he died in 2007. “Dad insisted that urology should be proper and respectable, not a joke,” she has said, adding that she has so far followed her father’s lead in not displaying the Little Colonel.
Of course, it’s possible that it’s not really Napoleon’s. The French government has obviously never recognised it as such, but we do know one thing due to an X-ray taken by Dr. Lattimer: it’s certainly someone’s penis.