Resource: Battle of the Nile – The Crocodile Sword

19 January, 2010 at 12:19 am 3 comments

Admiral James Saumarez, 1st Baron de Saumarez (one of Nelson’s “Band of Brothers”), was wounded during the Battle of the Nile while still captain. You’ll be glad to hear that no Saumarezes were harmed during the production of the “Antiques Roadshow” on Guernsey.

The “Antiques Roadshow” is one of my guilty pleasures. Due to lack of attic I’ll never find a treasure in an old shoebox, but it’s fun to see other people’s reactions when that “ugly old vase in the garden shed” turns out to be made in the 15th century and is worth a fortune.

“Congratulations! This vase is worth £ 20’000 at least!”
“Oh. Jolly good.”

But I admit, the best moments are when some pretentious snob learns that the “guaranteed authentic jerry of Henry VIII.” he bought for insane money on ebay turns out to be an Italian flowerpot dating back to the 50ies. One of my favourites was the rather snippy lady, descendant of one of Nelson’s captains, who turned up with a plate supposed to be “part of Nelson’s victory service”. Alas – it was a French piece, produced to celebrate – well. The less we know, the better. Where was I? Ah yes, Captain Saumarez.

Nelson was presented by his captains (the “Crocodile Club”) with a special sword, commemorating the victory of the Battle of the Nile. It was a beautiful piece, with a hilt in the shape of a crocodile. Copies were made  for the various captains, and luckily for us, the current Lord de Saumarez brought the one of his anchestor along when the Antique Roadshow set up its tents in Guernsey, on the family’s former estate, Saumarez Park (which is now owned by the state).

The sword is a masterpiece. The greyish-bits on the blade used to be bright blue. I was glad to hear the family has no intention to sell it, despite an estimated value of £ 150’000 – £ 200’000. Personally, I think that pieces of historical importance like this one should either stay with the family or in a museum, not in the safe of a collector. So two thumbs up for the Saumarez-family, and thanks for sharing it with the public. You can watch the episode of the Antique Roadshow for another 2 days here.

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Entry filed under: 18th century, art, nelson, resource, royal navy, ships, tv. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. katy  |  19 January, 2010 at 4:11 am

    Amazing sword. Wish I could get that version of the show. I watch the US one occaisionally.

    Reply
  • 2. John Carter  |  8 October, 2010 at 2:33 am

    I’m a collector of British Naval Swords and other weapons associated with the Royal Navy, and was thrilled to watch the Antique Road show and see the sword of Captain Saumarez. what a beauty, wish i had one.

    Reply
  • 3. David  |  22 June, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Just saw the replay of this episode here in Sydney, Australia. Absolutely stunning sword. Remarkable and Impressive to see it’s still in the family all these years later.

    Reply

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