This particular example was presented to Captain William George Rutherford, the only American-born British captain in the naval action. Rutherford was born in 1764 in Wilmington, North Carolina, to a loyalist family.
The family returned to Scotland where the young William was educated at the University of St Andrews before embarking on a successful naval career.
At Trafalgar he captained the Swiftsure, which was trying to tow the sinking French ship Redoubtable but was forced to cut the line when it suddenly sank.
Lloyds of London provided funds for these presentation swords which came in three values: £30, £50 and £100, Rutherford’s as a naval captain being a £100 example.
The ornate sword with its detailed inscription to the blade remained in the family until 1962 when it was brought to the USA by a collector of early arms, Valmore Forgett.
It is making its first appearance under the hammer at James D Julia and carries an estimate of $150,000-250,000.