Napoleonic naval book fetches £11,000 at county auction

A naval book from the Napoleonic period fetched £11,000 at a county auction.

The naval book fetched £11,000 at auction
The naval book fetched £11,000 at auction

A hand-coloured copy of Signal Book for the Ships of the Line, printed in 1794, yielded the princely sum at Halls Fine Art auction in Shrewsbury.

It contained extensive manuscript notes, 76 hand-coloured flags and a 36 part-thumb index with hand written designations. According to Halls, it was given on board HMS Boyne (a 98-gun warship) at Guadeloupe on April 23, 1794, to Capt. James Young, H.M.S. Reprisal, by command of Admiral George Purvis. HMS Boyne was the flagship leading a fleet to wrest control of Guadeloupe from the French. It was the following day that the French surrendered. So, this codebook of the time was actually used in action during one of the most famous theatres of war.

From the same era, a holograph envelope signed "Nelson & Bronte" and inscribed by Nelson "Private. Sir Richard J Strachan, Bart. H M Ship Donnegal", achieved £1,650. It was estimated at £500-800

A brief letter by "Buffalo Bill" sold for £1,400 and a letter written by Florence Nightingale from the Barracks Hospital in Scutari on September 23, 1855, announcing her impending arrival in the Crimea, made £1,900.

Although 11 volumes of the Botanical Magazine by William Curtis made an above estimate £5,400, it was largely 20th century autographs that stole the limelight. Two autograph albums, comprising pop and sports stars of the 1980s and 1990s, sold for £4,000, and A Queen album sleeve notes, signed by all four members sold for the same sum.

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