(Corrects day of auction in first paragraph to Wednesday from Thursday)
LONDON (Reuters) - A piece of the Union Jack flag believed to have been flown from the flagship of Britain’s Lord Horatio Nelson’s ship during the Battle of Trafalgar sold for 297,000 pounds ($410,000) at an auction in London on Wednesday.
The item was part of a collection of Nelson memorabilia that went up for sale at auctioneers Sotheby’s and included weapons, his “grog chest” and personal letters.
Another item, a portrait of Nelson’s mistress Emma Hamilton, sold for 369,000 pounds, significantly more than the estimate price of between 150,000 and 200,000 pounds.
The 86 cm by 92 cm flag fragment (34 inches by 36 inches), dubbed “The Victory Jack”, had an estimated price of between 80,000 and 100,000 pounds.
“The flag has a wonderful story,” Gabriel Heaton, specialist for books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s told Reuters.
“It was used as part of the great ceremonial funeral of Nelson after his death at the battle. And pieces of it were broken up and kept by the loyal sailors who had lost their very, very deeply loved commander.”
The last surviving complete Union Jack flag flown at the battle fetched 384,000 pounds in 2009, more than twenty times its estimated price.
The battle of Trafalgar was a naval clash that took place in 1805, and saw the British defeat a numerically superior French and Spanish fleet. Nelson was fatally wounded during the battle, which cemented his status as a national hero in Britain.
($1 = 0.7230 pounds)
Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London, editing by Larry King