Thursday, December 17, 2015

Union Jack flown at the Battle of Trafalgar set to go under the hammer

A Union flag thought to have flown from HMS Leviathan at the Battle of Trafalgar is to be sold at auction by Holt's Auctioneers in March 2016. Pictured is Roland Elworthy from Holt's Auctioneers with the flag.
Photo: submitted.
A Union flag thought to have flown from HMS Leviathan at the Battle of Trafalgar is to be sold at auction by Holt's Auctioneers in March 2016. Pictured is Roland Elworthy from Holt's Auctioneers with the flag. Photo: submitted.
The flag - believed to have been flown on HMS Leviathan during the 1805 battle - is expected to be sold for between £30,000 and £50,000 when it is auctioned in March at west Norfolk-based Holt’s Auctioneers’ London sale room.
Roland Elworthy, senior valuer at Holt’s Auctioneers based in Wolferton, said he had “no doubt as to the flag’s provenance” and that it had “enormous historic value.”
The flag has been in the family of its current owner - Arthur Cory, of Penllyn Castle in Wales - for generations.
A sworn affidavit that accompanies it states that it has been in the present owner’s family since the reign of William IV and that it was thought to have been given either as a token of friendship, to settle a gambling debt or as a prize for wining a race.
Roland Elworthy, senior valuer at Holt’s Auctioneers based in Wolferton in west Norfolk, said: “Being entrusted with the sale of such an important item is a real thrill for us and, frankly, an honour, and I have no doubt as to the flag’s provenance. How it passed from the ship and arrived with the Cory family will probably always remain anecdotal, but a great deal of research coupled with the opinion of independent specialists indicates that we have a genuine Trafalgar Union Flag. That makes it terribly rare, only two others are known to exist; one is held by the Maritime Museum at Greenwich (H.M.S. Minotaur), and the other is in private hands (H.M.S. Spartiate).”
The Battle of Trafalgar, part of the Napoleonic Wars, took place on October 21 1805 and saw the Royal Navy, led by Admiral Lord Nelson, defeat the combined fleets of the French and Spanish.
Admiral Lord Nelson had commanded all his ships to fly a Union Jack, and HMS Leviathan was one of the ships that sailed behind HMS Victory.
She was engaged in battle for over three hours. Four of her crew were killed and 22 were wounded. All three of her masts were badly damaged and a large section of rigging was shredded.
HMS Leviathan was later converted to a prison for 28 years and then used as target practice for Royal Navy ships at Portsmouth before she was broken up for firewood in 1848.
For more about the auction, visit www.holtsauctioneers.com

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