Nelson’s HMS Victory ‘Battle of Trafalgar flag’ scrap sells for third of a million

A piece of a flag believed to have flown from Nelson’s HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar has sold for £297,000 at auction.

The hand-woven woollen fragment made up of eight red, white and blue panels measures 86cm by 92cm (34in by 36in).

It fetched about three times Sotheby’s guide price estimate of £80,000 – £100,000.

The auction house said the torn piece of cloth dated from 1801-1805. The Battle of Trafalgar took place in 1805.

The winning bid at the sale in London was £240,000, with a further £57,000 in fees bringing the total up to £297,000.

Sotheby’s said the flag had previously been gifted by Captain William Hugh Dobbie, who was in the Royal Navy between 1783 and and 1817, to the Museum of the Royal United Services Institute.

Victory, a 250-year-old vessel, which is based in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, flew two Union flags and a St George’s Ensign.

Admiral Nelson died in the battle after he was shot by a French marksman as he stood on the quarterdeck.

Only two complete Union Jacks used as battle ensigns at Trafalgar are known to have survived.

One, flown from the mast of HMS Minotaur, is on display at the National Maritime Museum .

The second, which was flown during the battle off the Spanish coast from Nelson’s HMS Spartiate, sold at auction in 2009 for £384,000 .