“It is all my fault.”
The last words of Vice Admiral George Tryon, whose attempts to perform naval exercises off the coast of Lebanon in 1893 had gone disastrously wrong.
Tryon went down with the HMS Victoria that he commanded, following a collision with another British ship.
And there the Victoria lay undisturbed for more than 100 years.
Until British diver Mark Ellyatt recently unearthed the shipwreck, 500 feet below the surface, and potentially discovered one of the most stunning Nelson collections in existence.
Ellyatt said that Tryon’s cabin and cupboard were “like a shrine” to Nelson, and included a sword thought to have belonged to the Battle of Trafalgar hero.
And while the UK’s Ministry of Defence decides what to do next, there the artefacts remain.
Ellyatt says he has hidden the sword amid the wreckage for fear of looters.
“I would like to bring the sword to the surface but I worry that it would be seized by the local authorities,” Ellyatt added.
“If the items are to be recovered, I would like to see them end up in a museum in the UK.”
A small number of items have so far made it to the surface, including a model of HMS Victory, but the main haul lies below.
Personally I cannot wait to see the outcome of the Nelson treasure trove – if any of the items were ever to make it to auction you can expect some serious interest.
In the meantime, there are still several fascinating Nelson pieces that are available now, with impeccable provenance.
We currently have one of the rarest and most sought-after pieces of Nelson memorabilia in existence: a signed handwritten note from Nelson to an unnamed admiral, advising him of British ship movements on the northern coast of France during 1801.
Written with his left-hand in 1801, Nelson’s letters were notoriously brief following the amputation of his right-arm in 1797
It is priced at £8,500 ($13,410), £1,000 below the PFC40 Autograph Index listing for a Nelson signed letter – offering superb value to investors.