One of the last letters that Lady Hamilton sent to her lover Lord Nelson has sold in New York.
The auction, which took place yesterday (November 5), saw the remarkable missive sell with excellent results, achieving $68,500 with a 280.5% increase on its $18,000 high estimate.
The letter is dated October 4, 1805 from Canterbury, with the free frank showing that it was sent on October 7. It is addressed to the care of Captain Keats aboard the HMS Superb, which was due to join Nelson's fleet off Cadiz.
Captain Keats was highly regarded by both Nelson and Hamilton, and was responsible for delivering much of the sensitive correspondence between the pair.
The letter would never reach Nelson, as he was killed by a French sniper at Trafalgar on October 21. With the Battle of Trafalgar won, the HMS Superb did not rejoin the fleet, which helps to explain the letter's survival.
Both Nelson and Hamilton destroyed much of their correspondence to maintain the privacy of their relationship, though Hamilton was obviously less thorough, as there are far more examples of the letters that Nelson sent to her. This letter is believed to be the penultimate letter that Hamilton sent before receiving word of his death.
"Full of affectionate warmth", the letter is addressed to "My most dear Nelson". It was sold in poor condition, with a puncture, marginal tears and a loss of paper, though none of these factors affected the text. Accompanying were documents supporting its provenance.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a brilliant selection of Lord Nelson memorabilia, providing an excellent opportunity to invest in the greatest naval leader in history.