The only surviving Union Jack from the Battle of Trafalgar today sold for a staggering world record of £384,000 - nearly 40 times its estimate.
The huge flag, that is littered with holes from shot damage and still has a whiff of gunpowder, flew from the jackstaff of HMS Spartiate at the historic battle 204 years ago.
After the victory over Napoleon’s French army, the crew lowered the flag and presented it to Lieutenant James Clephan for his outstanding performance.
It is not yet clear if the flag will remain in Britain or go abroad.
A spokesman for Charles Miller Auctions, who sold the standard, said: ‘We are hugely delighted and thrilled with the price, as are James Clephan’s family.
Riddled with bullet holes and reeking of gunpowder: The only surviving Union Jack from the Battle of Trafalgar sold for a record-breaking £384,000
‘It is way above anyone’s expectations but does reflect the historical importance of the flag and the battle it fluttered in 204 years ago today.’
The flag was made from 31 bunting panels by the crew of HMS Spartiate, which was the last ship in line behind Nelson’s HMS Victory as they took on the French at Trafalgar.
Spartiate was actually a French ship but was seized by the British at the Battle of the Nile in 1798.
Its lieutenant was James Clephan, from Fife in Scotland. He was pressed into the navy 1794 aged 26 and excelled as a seaman.
He was made a midshipman in 1801 and rose to lieutenant later that year for distinguishing himself in the successful capture of the French ship Chevrette.
After Trafalgar he was immediately promoted to first lieutenant and by the time his career in the navy finished he was captain of his own ship.
Mr Miller said: ‘The flag is one of the most important, historical items any collector could expect to handle.
‘The damage is probably from bullet holes or splinter fragments, but despite all this it is in amazing condition.
‘You can still even detect the smell that is ingrained within it.
‘Clephan is a remarkable and charismatic survivor from the great age of Georgian sail.
‘It was an incredible achievement for someone who had been pressed to rise to Captain.’