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Issue 20 - High price for Nelson left-hander

Scotland Magazine Issue 20
April 2005

 

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High price for Nelson left-hander

Aletter written by Admiral Lord Nelson has sold for £42,000 at a Lyon & Turnbull auction recently. Dated December 8th 1797, the letter was anonymously written to a London Reverend – penned with Nelson’s left hand some months after he lost his arm in battle. It gives thanks to God for his “perfect recovery from a severe wound, and also for the many mercies bestowed upon him.”

It is contained within a glazed wooden frame described as being made from the main mast of HMS Victory.

The letter was bought by an anonymous English buyer, who later commented: “I was very attracted to the letter because it evokes so much of Nelson personally; the amputation of his right arm, his recovery after four very painful months, the speed with which he learned to write with his left hand, his strong belief in God and, most unusually for him, a wish to remain anonymous.”