Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson’s Snuff Box


2015-06-26 11:12:28

Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson’s Snuff Box

Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson’s Snuff Box is a unique and important piece of historic memorabilia formerly belonging to the celebrated British Officer Horatio Nelson.

Background information

Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson is one of the most well-known figures in British naval history. His bravery, influential leadership and inspired tactical ability led him to some of the nation’s greatest naval victories and ensured his place in history.

His most famous victory came at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, when he led the British Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy during the Napoleonic War.

Although outnumbered, Nelson’s unorthodox tactics saw them sink 22 of the 33 opposing vessels without losing a single British ship. It confirmed the dominance of the British Navy, and proved to be the decisive battle of the war. Nelson was tragically killed during the battle, and London’s Trafalgar Square and its central monument Nelson’s Column were built to honour his memory.

Nelson is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential figures in British military history, and he is remembered around the world to this day.

Item description

This small circular wooden snuff box bears a delicate miniature watercolour painting of the Amalfi Coast on its lid. It has been passed down through the family of George Unwin, Nelson’s secretary, to whom nelson gave the box as a gift.

It is accompanied by a framed note written by Unwin’s son which reads:

"My Father had either lost his own snuff box on going ashore or in some shop in Palermo and upon mentioning the circumstances at Lady Hamilton’s table where Lord Nelson was one of the party his Lordship handed over to him this identical box and desired him to keep it until he could get a better one.”

It is believed that the box was gifted to Unwin in 1798-9, during a period in which Nelson stayed with Sir William and Lady Hamilton in Naples and recuperated from injuries suffered at the Battle of the Nile in Aboukir.

It was during this time that Nelson and Lady Hamilton began their famous love affair which would continue until his death at Trafalgar in 1805.


This highly rare piece of British historic memorabilia is offered for sale by paul Fraser Collectibles, a company which deals in investment-grade collectibles and unique pieces of history.

It is currently priced at £45,000.

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