Dated 1796 and made by London silversmiths William Eley and William Fearn, it is engraved with Nelson’s ‘San Josef’ crest that depicts the stern of the Spanish warship captured at Cape St Vincent on February 14, 1797.
The crest was granted in March 1797 when Nelson was given the Order of the Bath.
However, it was one he used for just two years.
Acquiring more titles and decorations after the French fleet was smashed at the Battle of the Nile on August 2, 1798, later additions to his canteen (also made by Eley and Fearn) carried the Ottoman Chelengk crest alongside the San Josef device.
It is the knowledge that these pieces were in regular use by Nelson and his circle that gives them such resonance with collectors.
This example, estimated to bring £100-150 at Lawrences (25% buyer’s premium) of Crewkerne in a January 17 auction, was bought by a bidder using thesaleroom.com at £3000.