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The E-Sylum (9/5/2010)

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One of the most famous military medals of all has resurfaced and will soon be offered for sale. -Editor

Lord Nelson's Breast Star of the Order of the Bath LORD Nelson’s love of bling may be the reason he was shot dead at the Battle of Trafalgar, a medal expert claimed yesterday.

Britain’s great naval hero could have been an easy target for a sniper because he insisted on wearing an array of medals into battle, said auctioneer James Morton.

Now one, the Breast Star of the Order of the Bath, is up for auction in London and is forecast to fetch up to £500,000.

Experts hailed it as the most important piece of Nelson memorabilia to go under the hammer more than 100 years. Mr Morton said: “Nelson was intensely proud of all of his medals and ordered cloth and wire versions to be sewn on to his uniforms so he could wear them even in battle.

“Nelson liked his bling. At the beginning of his career he only had the Breast Star medal but by the time of Trafalgar he had gained several more gold medals which he wore on his jacket.

“He was warned that they could make him an easy target in combat. If he had not liked his gold so much, maybe he would not have been shot at Trafalgar, who knows?”

The silver, gold and enamel medal was awarded in 1797 following his victory at the Battle of Cape St Vincent in the Caribbean. When he died at Trafalgar in 1805 it was inherited by his brother who sent it to the hero’s friend, Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats. It has stayed in the Keats family until an anonymous descendant of Sir Richard decided to get it valued.

To read the complete article, see: LORD NELSON'S MEDALS MADE HIM A TARGET AT TRAFALGAR (

The articles I saw described the medal as being sold by Sotheby's, but Christopher Eimer set me straight - "The medal is to be sold by Morton and Eden on 22 October 2010". For more information, see their site at . Below are images and text from the Morton and Eden press release. -Editor

Nelson's Star obverse Nelson's Star reverse

Following the Admiral’s 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 Nelson’s great friend and confidant Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats. Depicted in numerous paintings and sculptures including the statue on Nelson’s 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: “This is an exceptionally important piece of Nelson memorabilia which is even more remarkable having been rediscovered more than 200 years after the Admiral’s death at the Battle of Trafalgar. We are privileged to have been entrusted with the task of offering it.”

The majority of Nelson’s decorations were famously purchased for the Nation through Christie’s in 1895 for £2,500. They were subsequently put on public display in the Painted Hall at Greenwich Hospital but on the night of Saturday December 8 1900 they were stolen by a thief who hid himself until he was alone in the building. He left with the treasures via an upstairs window. A £200 reward was offered for his apprehension but the man was not caught until 1904, when he was sentenced to seven years’ penal servitude. Apart from Nelson’s watch and seal, which can be seen today at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, no traces of the stolen gold medals and other relics have ever been found.

To read the complete press release, see: MORTON & EDEN TO SELL LONG LOST NELSON INSIGNIA (

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