You could own Nelson’s hair

Locks of Admiral Horatio Nelson’s hair will go under the hammer in Aylsham next week – part of an astonishing collection of Nelson-related lots which is exciting interest amongst collectors all over the world.

The extremely rare lot is part of the renowned Nelson collection amassed by the late Ron Fiske of Morningthorpe Hall, in south Norfolk – an inaugural member of the Nelson Society, and its chairman for nine years.

Other Nelson-related items to go under the hammer at Keys Auctioneers and Valuers as part of their two day Summer Fine Sale on July 29 and 30 include medals from campaigns when Nelson led the fleet, rare contemporary porcelain – including a cup and saucer which may have belonged to the admiral – pictures and books.

More than 100 items from the Fiske collection are up for auction at the sale, with extensive interest already being shown by collectors throughout the UK and beyond.

Highlights include:

Two paper packets containing locks of Nelson’s hair, the first packet inscribed in ink ‘The hair of Horatio Lord Nelson, given me by Horatia, 22 May 1818’ and the second ‘The great Lord Nelson hair cut off when he left off tying his hair’.  The pre-sale estimate is £2,000-£3,000.

Locks of Nelson’s hair, which are being auctioned in Aylsham next week.

An important early 19th century English porcelain cup and saucer, probably Coalport, decorated with the arms of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson of the Nile, KB. A similar example is in the British Museum; it is thought the piece was commissioned for a banquet in Nelson’s honour and may have been presented to him.  The estimate is £2,500-£3,000

The cup and saucer which was designed for a banquet in his honour.

Various naval medals dating from campaigns in which Nelson led the fleet, among the earliest medals issued by the Royal Navy.  Included are a Naval General Service Medal, clasp Copenhagen 1801, to Gunner Henry Harms, HMS Zephyr (estimate £3,000-£3,500); and a Naval General Service Medal, clasp St Vincent, to John Smith (estimate £2,000-£2,500)

“Despite some recent controversy about historical figures, interest in Nelson remains very high,” said David Broom, of Keys.  “He was perhaps Norfolk’s most famous son, so it’s appropriate that these items are going under the hammer in his home county, but we expect interest from throughout the UK and overseas.”

It is especially fitting that the sale is in Aylsham, where Nelson was a visitor at The Black Boys hotel in the Market Place.

The full catalogue is available online and bids can be placed at www.bid.keysauctions.co.uk.

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