This is believed to be a fragment of the Union Jack flown on the flagship HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar.
It’s heading to auction at Sotheby’s on January 17 in the Of Royal and Noble Descent sale, with an estimate of up to £100,000 ($133,458).
The Battle of Trafalgar was the British navy's finest hour
Admiral Nelson ordered all the ships in the British fleet to fly a St George’s Ensign and a Union Jack as they sailed into battle against the French and Spanish on October 21, 1805.
Despite being outnumbered 41 to 33, the British dealt the alliance a resounding defeat.
It’s regarded as the British navy’s finest hour. However, Nelson was fatally wounded during the battle. His last words were said to be “Thank God I have done my duty”.
The flags flown on the Victory were to be buried with Nelson. But his men made sure to tear off a large piece as a keepsake.
This specimen measures 33.8 x 36.2 inches, making it one of the larger known fragments.
Sotheby’s comments: “Most of the surviving fragments of the Victory's flags are much smaller than the current piece.
“Small fragments of white and blue bunting, no more than 12cm in length, have appeared at auction... and other similar fragments are found at the National Maritime Museum and other institutional collections.”
An intact Union Jack flown above HMS Spartiate at Trafalgar achieved £384,000 ($512,478) in 2009.
Don’t have £100,000 laying around? Fear not, we have an exceptional collection of Battle of Trafalgar memorabilia at a fraction of the price.
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