Trafalgar Union Jack sets auction world record

November 06, 2009

Hi Mac,

Hope this finds you well. felt you might like this story.

Best Regards,

Battle-scarred: The Union Jack flag flew from the jackstaff of the HMS Spartiate (Charles Miller Ltd)

The only surviving Union Jack from the Battle of Trafalgar has sold at auction in London for nearly
$700,000 after being found tucked away in a drawer in a Sydney home.

The battle-scarred flag, which was flown from the mast of HMS Spartiate during the battle, was given to Lieutenant James Clephan by his crew mates 204 years ago as a reward for his bravery during the fighting.

The 1805 naval engagement pitted the British fleet under Lord Nelson against the combined French and
Spanish fleets, and the ensuing British victory was seen as a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars.

Lieutenant Clephan's relatives moved to Australia in the 1960s and the flag was tucked away in the bottom
drawer of a home in Castle Hill, Sydney for safe-keeping.

Overnight a London auction house was stunned when the flag sold for a world record of 384,000 pounds

During a fierce bidding war the price climbed more than 30 times the original estimate, setting a new
world record for a British flag.

The buyer is an American collector who wants to remain anonymous.

He said by phone from the United States that he hopes he can negotiate a deal with the British government to keep the historic flag in the UK.

"I'm a collector and I've been collecting flags for over four decades, and I work on keeping the story and the relic together," he said.

"So this is a passion I've had for history and many of these artefacts people often do not keep the story and the history together.

"We understand the concern people may have in the United Kingdom about the flag going to America, but
we're working on a plan to work with the British government to accommodate that concern.

"In the United States it would have a nice home and if we're not able to work something out with the British government, we of course will give it a good home in the US. I'm sure it will be on view in the US for people to see."

The buyer says he finds the story of Lieutenant Clephan "intriguing", which is what attracted him to the flag.

"It's one of the most historical flags, certainly in the Western world, that's well documented from a
historical event," he said.

"We're familiar with the history of the lieutenant who was given the flag at the time right after the

"This is a man who worked himself up through the ranks of the British Navy and became one of only 16
captains to do that in the history of the Royal Navy."


"Linda Ebrey"
Friday, 6 November, 2009

Your 1805 Club are probably well aware of this auction, but just in case you are not, here are the details of this auction.

Best regards,

November 07, 2009
Dear Mac,

How kind to have sent this - yes, it has caused quite a stir in the Club, but what was amusing was that the person auctioning it brought it to our Trafalgar Dinner and let people handle it, a couple of days before it went for such a huge sum that even he couldn't have hoped for ! I wonder if he would have brought if had he known - I suspect not !! An interesting comment in today's Times too:


With warmest and best wishes,


I was sure you would know all about this Union Jack, but
better to annoy you with the information, than have you
miss it.

Thank you for the Times comment.

All the best to you and your Club members.


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