Locks of Admiral Lord Nelson's hair sell for £5k

Lord Nelson's hair Image copyright Keys Auctioneers and Valuers /PA Wire
Image caption There was a lot of "active bidding" on the locks of hair from Lord Nelson which sold for £5,278.34

Three locks of Admiral Lord Nelson's hair have sold for more than £5,000 - well above their reserve price.

Auctioneers Keys, based in Aylsham, Norfolk, said the items were sold to a "private UK collector" but set to stay in this country.

Despite "historical questions" into his past there was a lot of active bidding, the auctioneers said.

They were part of a collection belonging to the late historian Ron Fiske, who died in 2018.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nelson was killed in action in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar

The total sale price was £5,278.34 including the buyer's premium. The pre-sale estimate was between £2,000 to £3,000.

The locks that were kept in paper, belonged to Mr Fisk, who was an inaugural member of the Nelson Society and its chairman for nine years.

Tim Blyth, auctioneer, said: "There was still a lot of interest [and international interest] despite the context and historical questions.

"Our job as auctioneers is to sell something, not to make a judgement on the historical content.

"They will be staying in this country, as far as we know."

Image copyright Mark Houldey
Image caption The statue of Horatio Nelson, in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral, was damaged on 4 July

Earlier this month, a statue of Nelson in Norwich was defaced with spray paint.

According to Topple the Racists, a group which says it wants Britain to "face the truth about its colonial past", Nelson was a supporter of slavery.

This claim has been rejected by the Nelson Society, which said his overriding ethos was "service to his country".

Nelson was a British naval commander who became a national hero for his victories against the French during the Napoleonic Wars.

The first packet inscribed in ink "The hair of Horatio Lord Nelson, given me by Horatia, 22 May 1818".

The second packet, which contains two locks, says "The great Lord Nelson hair cut off when he left off tying his hair".

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