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Monday, September 24, 2012

Admiral Nelson artifact found in jammed drawer

Horatio Nelson is eternally newsworthy

If a cribbage board owned by just about anyone else was accidentally discovered, it would be non-news.

But a cribbage board with provenance linking it to not just Admiral Nelson, but the Battle of Trafalgar, too, was serendipitously found, then it's breathtaking.  Like the junior royals of today, the hero of the Nile, the subject of scandal in his time and countless books since, is always worth a headline.

Cribbage board Nelson used before he pegged out at Trafalgar is found in jammed drawer of Victorian desk bought for £30

Blares the Daily News online.

The story itself is one of those great human interest tales.  A small museum wanted to get a few items into working order so they would be easier to sell.  Included in those items was a Victorian desk with a jammed drawer.  Toby Jenkins, a helpful staff member at the auction house, prised it open, and lo and behold, there was a neat little cribbage board.

It was made of bone, which makes it intriguing.  Even more rivetingly, there was a note attached claiming that this was the very same cribbage board used by "Victory" Nelson and Admiral Quilliam during the run-up to the Battle of Trafalgar.  Well, it can be so boring waiting for a big battle to happen.

On the reverse there was a handwritten label dated around 1940s in appearance stating the name of the donor as Byron S.G Penn.
Handwritten in ink next to that label were the words: 'The cribbage board used by Victory Nelson & Admiral Quilliam'

At first, as Mr. Jenkins admitted, it seemed too good to be true.  Then a search through National Archives turned up Byron S.G. Penn.  Hopefully, this is provenance enough, as the auction could fetch many, many thousands more than the usual cribbage board, even one made of bone.

You can read the full story, plus pictures, HERE.

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