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Sold for £42,000 in Edinburgh was a brief, unsigned note in which Nelson gives thanks for his "perfect recovery from a severe wound". Probably sent to the Rev. Joshua Greville of St George's, Hanover Square, the letter is dated December 8, 1797, less than five months after his right arm had been amputated and is an example of his earlier attempts at writing with his left hand.

The note, seen above right, was in a simple wooden frame said to have been of wood from the mainmast of Victory. It was bought by an anonymous bidder from the south of England.

This was one of three letters and documents found in a wardrobe in an Edinburgh flat towards the end of last year by John Dixon of Georgian Antiques, and while it is not known how they came into the possession of his client, the letters were originally owned by Sir William Augustus Fraser, a politician, writer and avid collector.

A letter of 1773 (in a secretarial hand) in which Edward Bentham, First Chief Clerk (Ticket Office) in the Navy Office, asks the master of HMS Seahorse for "a recommendation in favour of Horatio Nelson, a Young Lad, Nephew to Captain Suckling..." was sold at £4200. The wooden frame of this letter relating to Nelson's early career was said to have been made from the ladder or steps on the Victory down which he was carried after being mortally wounded at Trafalgar, but while no special framing claims were made for the commission of January 1, 1801, that appointed Nelson to the rank of Vice Admiral of the Blue, it nonetheless sold well at £7000.

A fourth item of Nelson memorabilia in the Edinburgh sale, from a different source, was a circular turned wooden box of just 2 1/2in (6.5cm) diameter, decorated with a silver band and inset to the lid with an engraved silver disc that explains that it is made from part of the mast of L'Orient, the French flagship whose dramatic explosion was the climactic moment of his victory at the Battle of the Nile, and from whose timbers his own coffin was made. This sold at £4000.

Sold for £5500 by Lyon & Turnbull was a 1757 first edition of the official account of The trial of the Honourable Admiral John Byng at a court martial... in which the text sheets had been mounted and the whole work expanded by the addition of some 180 items associated with Byng and his naval career. These included autograph letters and other documents (among them his will), maps, cartoons, ballads, broadsides, pamphlets, proclamations, together with engraved portraits of Byng and his contemporaries in the navy and in government.

Byng's execution, of which Voltaire famously observed: "In this country it is thought well to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others", is seen in the plate reproduced below right.