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October 4, 2005

Own Admiral Horatio Nelson's Undershirt — Complete with the fatal bullet hole


In England Horatio Nelson occupies a place in the collective psyche equivalent to that in America of George Washington, Elvis and John F. Kennedy — combined.

The beige woolen one–sleeved undershirt (above) Admiral Nelson was wearing when he was fatally wounded at the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805 — with an "N" embroidered inside the neck and a bullet hole in the left shoulder — goes on the auction block at 2 p.m. tomorrow afternoon at Sotheby's in London.

Consigned by the descendants of Kitty Matcham, Nelson's youngest sister, it is possibly the only piece of of the British war hero's clothing still in private hands and is expected to bring up to £500,000 ($875,000).

The sale of Nelson memorabilia, timed to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the epic battle which determined the course of future European and world history, also features the daybed from Nelson's cabin on HMS Victory, expected to fetch £150,000; the wicker cot used by his daughter Horatia, born out of wedlock (£50,000); and a combined knife and fork made for the one–handed admiral, expected to bring at least £35,000.

The pocket watch Nelson was carrying at Trafalgar, consigned for sale by descendants of Nelson's favorite niece, Charlotte, who had it mounted in a carriage clock case, could realize up to £350,000.

At Christie's, meanwhile, the secret battle plans for Trafalgar, signed by Nelson himself, may sell for as much as £90,000.

The Trafalgar/Nelson–themed auctions at Bonham's, Sotheby's and Christie's this month are expected to result in total sales of over £3.5 million.

October 4, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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