Sword-pistol brandished by Lord Nelson up for auction
A sword-pistol thought to have been brandished by Lord Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar is set to fetch up to 15,000 pounds when it goes up for auction in Staffordshire.
The silver mounted DB flintlock tap-action weapon with attached 69.4cm blade was made by HW Mortimer in 1805 and was discovered in a collection of his possessions owned by his closest friend Alexander Davison.
"This is a truly exceptional piece of British history with a very interesting back story. It is a very fine, rare item in its own right," the Daily Mail quoted Ben Gamble, head auctioneer at Cuttlestones, as saying.
"Pistols of this period and quality and by makers of this caliber do not often come up for sale and its links to Nelson are only set to broaden its appeal. To say we're excited by the prospect of selling this piece is an understatement.
"All the evidence said it did belong to him and came back from Trafalgar with Hardy, the captain of the Victory. The likelihood is Nelson would have used it in Trafalgar," he said.
Gamble said the weapon was battle-worn and had suffered some damage, but could be made to work again by a good gunsmith.
"It's quite unusual, they were fashionable for a short period of time. They weren't that practical to use, only high-ranking officers had them," he said.
"The idea was you would try and shoot the enemy first but if they got too close or you couldn't fire, you had a chance of using your sword - a simpler form of bayonet. Naval collectors would be interested in owning this item. Nelson is a significant historical figure.
"It's a beautiful item - it's such a fascinating object - the workmanship is incredible. You could be holding something used my Nelson in battle," he added.