FOUR incredibly rare artefacts from the Falklands War are to go under the hammer, including surrender documents which would normally be housed in government archives.
The lots, three ‘instruments of surrender’ and a map of the Falklands, are key relics from the 1982 British-Argentine war.
All four documents bear the signatures of high-ranking military officials from both sides of the conflict and then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Though the surrender documents – one for the Falklands Islands themselves and one for South Georgia – are facsimiles, they are graced with the genuine signature of the Iron Lady and Major General Sir Jeremy Moore, commander of the British Forces during the conflict.
The lots will go under the hammer on November 17, and could fetch up to £16,000 in total.
And auctioneers say that this is the closest collectors will come to owning the real versions of the state documents, the originals of which are most likely stored in the National Archives.
Richard Westwood-Brookes, historical documents experts at Mullock’s Auctioneers, in Ludlow, Shropshire, said that he believes the documents are faxes or copies of faxes sent to Whitehall.
Because state documents are usually archived and stored under heavy protection, it would be impossible for a collector to get their hands on an original.
Mr Westwood-Brookes said:”I’ve never seen one of these state documents come up for auction before.
“The originals may be kept somewhere in Whitehall or even in the Imperial War Museum, but they will be unobtainable to the average person.
“It’s the nearest you’re going to get to the original thing.
“Even though they were produced on modern technology or modern technology of the time, at least, and faxed over to London, they are still state documents in the way that the original documents for Agincourt are state documents.
“Like any parliamentary document, they are kept from way back, but you’d never ever be able to buy the original.”
He said that the map – which is an original and bears the signature of Sir Rex Hunt, Civil Commissioner for the Falkland Islands at the time of the war – was produced by the British in 1966.
But it also bears an Argentine stamp, suggesting that it was used operationally by the invading forces.
Mr Westwood-Brookes said: “Although they are copies the map is original, I am certain that is from the original conflict.
“When we left the island when the Argentines invaded, we tried to trash everything, tried to destroy everything that would have been useful to them to prevent it falling in to the hands of the enemy.
“This one slipped through the net and gave the Argentines a detailed map of the Falklands that they could use.
“I’m fairly certain it would have been their campaign map for the war.”
He added that he expected the documents to generate a lot of interest due to the ‘unique’ nature of the war.
“It was the last war that we fought on our own.
“Everything else recently we have only been part of a combined force which inevitably involves the American army.
“In fact, it was the only war that we fought in the 20th century on our own – the last throe of the British Empire, and a conflict like it will never happen again.”