Lord Nelson's fighting sword up for sale at Chelsea Antiques Fair by Lymington antique dealer Charles Wallrock – with £50,000 price tag
A FIGHTING sword which belonged to navy hero Lord Nelson is being sold by a Lymington antique dealer with a price tag of £50,000.
Charles Wallrock, of Wick Antiques, is offering the 24in curved steel blade for sale at the upcoming historic Chelsea Antiques Fair.
Having researched the 17th century weapon, he found an account of its history written by a relative of Lord Nelson, which claimed it once belonged to Jacobite rebel Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Mr Wallrock said: "There is no doubt that this was Nelson’s sword – he may well have used it in action against the French.
"It is mounted into a later silver hilt, hallmarked ‘Nixon’, London 1752.
"That the fairly ordinary blade was remounted in silver by Nixon certainly suggests it was deemed important.
"It retains its leather scabbard and has now been mounted in a display cabinet befitting its importance."
Nelson gave the sword to his relative William Maurice Suckling, whose family still possessed it when Nelson's nephew wrote his account.
It was passed down the family and ultimately bought by Mr Wallrock, who admitted there was no proof for the Bonnie Prince Charlie claim which does not seem to match known dates.
Mr Wallrock explained: "The third Earl’s account was based on a previous history from 1823, but Maurice Suckling had died three years earlier so was never able to state whether there was any truth in it.
"The account states that Bonnie Prince Charlie’s brother – Cardinal York – was in Italy on the run from Napoleon.
"Nelson was cruising off the coast in 1796 and decided to help him, even though he was a Catholic.
"The last of the Stuarts was in rags, so Nelson invited him on board, looked after him then set him ashore with money to defray his expenses.
"When some time later they met again in Genoa, Cardinal York gave him the sword as a thank you for his generosity. He told him it had belonged to his younger brother.
Mr Wallrock added: "It adds another layer of intrigue on this historic artefact that was owned by one of the greatest naval heroes of all time."