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 Nelson's Silver Shoe Buckle for sale 
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Post Nelson's Silver Shoe Buckle for sale
I was going to post this in the Fiction forum, but that seems to be reserved for books, so perhaps it does belong here.

There is an interesting piece of writing in the listing of an "Important Lord Horatio Nelson 1790s Silver Shoe Buckle" currently for sale on eBay.

The author draws us in by telling us of this "very interesting and rare piece of Nelson Memorabilia", before deftly introducing some light humour into his description of its provenance, being "a very old tag attached by very old string" on which is written "Silver buckle from Nelson's shoe". Sadly (in my view), he refrains from using a third piece of repetition by failing to say that the writing is "very old", which I think would have turned this section into pure poetry. He then introduces us to a mysterious unnamed character, referred to just as "expert", who transports us (in a manner reminiscent of that other mysterious character "the doctor") into a strange fantasy world of some parallel universe where the navy actually issued silver buckles to senior ranking officers. Apparently most navy issue buckles were metal or bronze in this period (bronze obviously is not a metal in this parallel world). One other interesting piece of information introduced by "expert" is that the buckle has a Dublin hallmark, but frustratingly the author does not develop this aspect of the plot any further. I don't recall reading of any trips that Nelson made to Dublin to purchase his shoe buckles, which is surprising as the trip to Dublin was quite an undertaking before Heathrow became fully operational. It raises the fascinating possibility that while supposedly on half pay, Nelson may have made clandestine excursions to Ireland on some secret mission. Of course another possibility is that he received silver shoe buckles from someone in Ireland in return for services rendered, raised the spectre that Nelson may actually have been involved in the United Irish movement. I do feel that the author missed some opportunities for melodrama here. Instead he again deftly switches back into comedy mode with a hilarious opening bid of £973.

I have to say that ultimately I find the writing unconvincing. His rapid switch from comedy to fantasy and back leaves this reader with the uncomfortable feeling that his credulity is perhaps being manipulated. The device that he uses of the mysterious unnamed "expert" character is not original, and if you search hard, can be found repeated in many examples of this genre.

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Tony


Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:02 am
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Funnily enough, I have just read the following letter from Captain Hardy to Lady Hamilton,

'My ever dear Lady Hamilton,

I send you herewith your dear Nelson's shoe buckles which I took off his feet. I know they would be doubly dear to you as he so often knelt at yours......'

So from Lady Hamilton to ebay ...

Also for sale on ebay at the moment - a model of Nelson made in Lego. Captured at the Battle of Copenhagen, mayhap?


Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:17 pm
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polly wrote:


Also for sale on ebay at the moment - a model of Nelson made in Lego. Captured at the Battle of Copenhagen, mayhap?


...... :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:34 am
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Mil -

I should also have said that I came across Hardy's letter in the totally addictive Times Digital Archive! What an amazing resource it is. Thanks again - to you and to Somerset Libraries. Glad that my crippling council tax is spent on something (to me) worthwhile!


Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:54 am
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Tony,

I agree, I find it difficult to find much of this plausible and he does seem to be overgilding the lily!

I find it difficult to believe that silver shoe buckles were 'Admiralty issue' (and certainly not if St Vincent were then First Lord!) Flag officers, like other junior officers, appear to have been issued with your common or garden brass buckles, which I (and presumably the Admiralty) would have thought stood up better to the rigours of shipboard life.

If Nelson had had such a pair they were probably received as a gift in a box designed for them, as I believe it was quite common to give them as presents. Any sign of the box? (Like Dinky Toys, things are much more valuable if they come with the original box) Anyway, I would imagine they never saw the deck of the Victory and in fact I doubt Nelson would have worn them in any case, he being the active admiral and kind of man that he was.

I can't see why his lordship would have had to travel to Dublin to buy them, they were only hallmarked there, and if he were connected with the United Irish movement how is it that we haven't heard about it by now? The time he was on half pay, between 1788 and 1793, was spent as far as I am aware, at Burnham Thorpe rectory with his wife Fanny in reading, making improvements to the surrounding grounds and pestering the Admiralty for a ship. Is this some new activity we, Nelson scholars included, know nothing about?

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Sun Feb 03, 2008 5:18 pm
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Devenish wrote:
Is this some new activity we, Nelson scholars included, know nothing about?
No Kester, I think you are probably right :wink:

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Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:18 pm
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Nelson's hair is sold at auction

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Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:56 pm
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An unusual ring in memory of Horatio Nelson

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Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:22 pm
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As we live not far from Crewkerne, where the auction of the mourning ring was to be held, we decided to drive down and see how the bidding went. Estimate: £800-1200. Hammer price: £18,000 (yes, eighteen thousand.) Add to that 20% premium, and VAT, (Value Added Tax - no, I don't know what it means, either) - and the final price paid was almost £22,000!

No provenance was given for the ring, though only 59 were made.

Incidentally, Captain Thomas Hardy attended the grammar school in Crewkerne - though they didn't have much success teaching him to spell - 'mare' for 'mayor' and 'trooth' for 'truth' were a couple of his mis-spellings.


Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:10 pm
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