HMS Victory flag from the Battle of Trafalgar
The fragment of the flag believed to have flown from ‘HMS Victory’ at the Battle of Trafalgar, which sold for £297,000 at Sotheby’s.

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Part of a group of 80 objects from a remarkable collection of memorabilia relating to Lord Horatio Nelson, the flag fragment drew interest from four bidders at the sale earlier today (January 17).

According to Sotheby’s, the lots came from ‘a princely collection’.

The flag fragment was estimated at £80,000-100,000 but was eventually sold at £297,000 (including premium).

It was given by Captain William Hugh Dobbie (1771-1830) to the Museum of the Royal United Services Institute, and later sold at auctioneers Wallis & Wallis of Lewes on two occasions, in c.1961 and 1995. It was purchased by the vendor in 2005 for a premium-inclusive £120,000, meaning the seller had more than doubled their money here.

The collection, which was 96% sold on the day, featured souvenirs and commemoratives with estimates staring at £100 as well as a range of more valuable marine oil paintings and letters.

The top lot among the group was a portrait of Nelson’s lover Emma Hamilton by the Lanarkshire-born artist Gavin Hamilton. Painted in c.1786, it exceeded a £150,000-200,000 estimate and sold at £369,000 including premium.

The buyer’s premium at Sotheby’s was 25/20/12.9%.