Admiral Lord Nelson letter sells for £54k

Admiral Lord Nelson's two letters

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A letter written by Admiral Lord Nelson has been sold at auction for £54,500.

The previously unpublished document was sold by Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire.

The letter, dating back to 1804, was written by Nelson using his left hand seven years after he lost his right arm in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Another letter dated 7 May 1793, which was written before his injury, was also sold for £11,000.

Who was Admiral Lord Nelson?

Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson
  • Born in Norfolk on 29 September 1758, Horatio Nelson was a naval captain by 21, known throughout Europe by 39 and dead at 47
  • He won three of the most decisive naval victories in British history at the Nile (1798), Copenhagen (1801) and Trafalgar (1805)
  • Nelson was seriously wounded four times and famously killed by a French sniper while aboard HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar
  • Nelson was blind in his right eye but, contrary to popular myth, did not wear an eye patch

Source: BBC History

'Close to history'

The letters came to the auctioneers from a collector in the West Country who had owned them for 40 years.

Charles Hanson, manager of Hansons Auctioneers, said he had expected the items to go for about £10,000 each.

He said: "Lord Nelson was so pivotal in putting our country where we are today and we are absolutely delighted to handle such items that are so close to history and written by the great man himself."

The 1804 letter, written a year before Lord Nelson's death at the Battle of Trafalgar, praises Major James Weir of the Royal Marines.

It reads: "You merit everything which a grateful country could bestow upon your services… I shall be soon in England and if my testimony of your services can be useful it shall be very much at your service."

The earlier letter, which coincides with Lord Nelson's rise to power, was written after he took command of HMS Agamemnon.

It details his thoughts on a shipmate attempting to leave his rank and reads: "He came on board the ship from the Sandwich by his own free will and consent therefore why he should now be so uncomfortable as he appears to be I cannot account."

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