The lordship of Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, fetched $163,560 at an auction, the highest price ever paid for an ancient title.

The lordship entitles the new owner to describe himself as "Lord of the Manor of Stratford-upon-Avon" on his stationery and passport.It carries no right to houses, lands or a seat in the House of Lords and won't give the owner a foothold in the British aristocracy.

Apart from the title, the prize is a collection of ancient manorial documents, some dating back more than 1,200 years.

An agent said he bought the title on Wednesday for an unidentified man in central England who holds several other such titles.