UK

Lord Nelson: Naval Commander's Hair Fetches Thousands At Auction

The locks of hair had a pre-sale estimate of £2,000 to £3,000.

Three locks of Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson’s hair have sold for more than £5,000 at auction, beating the pre-sale estimate of £2,000 to £3,000.

They sold at Keys Auctioneers and Valuers of Aylsham in Norfolk via a live online auction on Wednesday for £5,278.34, including the buyer's premium.

The items were purchased by a private collector in the UK.

Lord Nelson was a British naval commander famed for his victories over the French during the Napoleonic Wars, including the Battle of Trafalgar, where he was killed in action in 1805.

The locks are kept in paper packets, with the first inscribed in ink, reading: "The hair of Horatio Lord Nelson, given me by Horatia, 22 May 1818."

The second packet, which contains two locks, says: "The great Lord Nelson hair cut off when he left off tying his hair."

The rare items were part of a Nelson collection belonging to late historian Ron Fiske.

Mr Fiske, who died in 2018, was an inaugural member of the Nelson Society and served as its chairman for nine years.

Admiral Lord Nelson is known for his victories over France during the Napoleonic Wars (Picture: PA).

There was a selection of around 100 Nelson-related items for sale, which attracted strong interest from British and international bidders; all lots offered attracted strong bidding, including a plaster bust of Nelson which sold for £3,300, after a pre-sale estimate of £400 to £600.

The locks of hair featured in part one of the collection.

Due to its size, part two, the first section of Nelson-related books, is to be sold in mid-August, with further parts being sold in October and November.

"Despite some recent controversy about historical figures, interest in Nelson remains very high," said antiques specialist David Broom, from Keys Auction House.

Statues of historical figures with connections to slavery have been particularly controversial in the wake of the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in May.

A Lord Nelson statue in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral was recently defaced with spray paint.

He was born in Burnham Thorpe, in north-west Norfolk.

Cover image: Lord Nelson's locks of hair are kept in paper packets (Picture: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers).

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