Intrepid young Navy commander's sword could bring £45,000

Bonhams' Fine Antique Arms and Armour sale will take place tomorrow (April 29) in Knightsbridge, London, and includes items from the Per T Norheim Collection.

The star lot is this fine Lloyd's Patriotic Fund Sword and Belt marked with the presentation inscription, "From The Patriotic Fund At LDoyds (sic) To Lieut. Wm. Howe Mulcaster Of H.M.S. Minerva...

"For His Zealous & Active Service On Cutting Out From Under The Fort In Finisterre Bay By The Boats Belonging To That Ship Five Spanish Luggers On The 22d. Of June.

The Lloyd's Patriotic Fund Sword will
be sold along with its original belt

"As Recorded In The London Gazette Of The 15th Of July 1805," it reads.

The story behind the sword is remarkable to say the least. Aged just 21, William Howe Mulcaster, then a first Lieutenant, was dispatched in command of two boats to investigate Spanish luggers laying on the coast.

The loggers were moored by a fort armed with both 12 and 24 pounder guns. The HMS Minerva fired upon the fort for nearly two hours with two-gun battery just south of the town.

Amazingly, the fort was overcome and seized and the luggers taken without loss, in spite of their being drunk on copious amounts of wine.

For his impeccable command, Mulcaster received this sword. He was knighted in 1831 and became aide-de-camp to King William IV, and later died in 1837.

The sword's characteristics include a single-edged hollow-ground blade, richly etched with flowers, foliage, a naval trophy and figures of Britannia and Hope.

Inscribed "Patriotic Fund 1803," the historic sword carries an estimate of £35,000-45,000.

In other antique weapons news, a sword presented by King Edward VII while still a young prince, given to General Sir Dighton Probyn for his accompaniment on a Royal tour of India, recently sold at Dominic Winter for £10,000.




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