Nelsonís Breast Star Of The Order Of The Bath Estimated At £300,000-500,000 In London Auction The silver, gold and enamel Breast Star of the Order of the Bath awarded to Admiral Lord Nelson, previously thought lost, is expected to sell for up to £500,000 at auction in London on October 22.
News-Antique.com - Sep 08,2010 - Lord Nelson remains the most iconic figure in British naval history, remembered for his daring victories at the Battles of Cape St Vincent, the Nile, Copenhagen and Trafalgar and for his romance with Emma Hamilton. But in 1900, when a thief stole many of Nelson's most personal relics from the Painted Hall at Greenwich, the nation was robbed of precious links to the ďImmortal HeroĒ, including his naval gold medals, watch and sword hilts.
However, the silver, gold and enamel Breast Star of the Order of the Bath - Nelsonís first honour, which he maintained was the most important of all to him - was not among the thiefís haul. Following the Admiralís death in 1805 his orders and titles were inherited by his brother, the Rev William Nelson. In 1814, William Nelson sent the original Bath Star to Nelsonís great friend and confidant Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats. Depicted in numerous paintings and sculptures including the statue on Nelsonís Column in Trafalgar Square, the Star is now being offered for sale anonymously by a direct descendant of Admiral Keats and has been consigned to auction from overseas.
Never before publicly displayed, the Star is to be offered for sale by specialist London auctioneers Morton & Eden on Friday October 22, fittingly the day after Trafalgar Day. It is estimated to fetch £300,000-500,000 but with competition, the eventual selling price could well be higher.
Said auctioneer James Morton: ďThis is an exceptionally important piece of Nelson memorabilia which is even more remarkable having been rediscovered more than 200 years after the Admiralís death at the Battle of Trafalgar. We are privileged to have been entrusted with the task of offering it.Ē
Knighthood and the Order of the Bath were honours which Nelson had long coveted. The KB was awarded in particular recognition of his outstanding contribution to the successful outcome of the Battle of Cape St. Vincent on February 14 1797. He also received a large Naval Gold Medal for the action in which, after disobeying direct orders from the commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean, Admiral Sir John Jervis, Nelson left the battle line on his own initiative and engaged part of the Spanish fleet which was attempting to flee. He subsequently led a boarding party which eventually captured two enemy ships-of-the-line, while the remainder of the Spanish fleet limped back to the safety of Cadiz harbour.
Later in the same year Nelson took part in the assault on Santa Cruz, Tenerife, during which he lost his right arm. He returned home to recuperate and was invested as a Knight of the Order of the Bath by King George III in September 1797.
Many further honours were bestowed upon Nelson, including two more large Naval Gold Medals for the Battle of the Nile (1798) and, posthumously, for the Battle of Trafalgar (1805).
Intensely proud of all his awards, Nelson ordered several cloth and wire versions of his decorations which were sewn to his uniforms. When he was fatally shot by a