France to auction off some of country's antique furniture for COVID-19 relief

France is set to auction off parts of its large collection of antique furniture in support of hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

The auction will take place on the weekend of France’s heritage days, from Sept. 20 to 21. All proceeds will go towards the Foundation for Paris Hospitals and French Hospitals, French publication Le Figaro says.

Around 100 antique pieces dating from the 19th century are to be sold to “contribute to the national effort to support local hospitals,” the Telegraph reports.

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Some of the pieces are reportedly from the time of Louis-Philippe I‘s reign between 1830 and 1848.

Hervé Lemoine, director of France’s Ministry of Culture agency Mobilier National, told Le Figaro that curators were drawing up a list of items to auction off, and the list won’t include “family silver.”

The Mobilier National, the Guardian reports, contains more than 130,000 rugs, chandeliers, chairs, ceramics, porcelain, furnishings, desk and other objects.

Lemoine also announced that the organization would be commissioning new works and restoration projects to support French artists out of work during the pandemic.

“Our first action will be to commission work to restore all the national collection by appealing to all craftspeople,” he told FranceInfo.

“The second will be to set up a special acquisitions committee to which young designers and creators can suggest their ideas and projects that we can buy then make.”

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France has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, with more than 167,000 confirmed cases and more than 24,000 deaths as of Friday afternoon.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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