Included here are some upcoming and past auction sales that include Antarctic material.

Launched: 15 January 2004. Last updated: 6 June 2022.

Accessed at least many times since 16 April 2007.

Note: Recently a British correspondent of mine raised the issue of material at auction that has historical and scholarly value that, all else being equal, should be available to researchers and the interested public (i.e. in an institution or university) and not stashed away in the library of a private collector. There is, of course, nothing new in this. The lots that usually elicit this sort of concern are journals and letters (in this particular instance the upcoming 16 September 2009 sale of some Dr. Wilson items). The problem, though, is that our economic system is such that persons with clear ownership of something such as a journal or a letter have every right to dispose of it however they wish—by giving, selling or consigning it to auction. Although it would be nice if unique Antarctic material of importance could always end up at SPRI, NMM or some other institution, be well looked after and available for research purposes, it's naive to expect this to be the rule and not the exception. In more cases than not, a price will have to be paid. There are many instances where a collector has paid a pretty penny for an auction lot, enjoyed possessing it for some years, then made a gift of it to an institution or public collection. So there's always the chance that when SPRI, say, can't meet the cost of a journal or letter, in time it may find the item in question coming through the door at the most unexpected moment. Nonetheless, if there are any potential bidders out there who would like to pick up an item or two of scholarly value and send it on to their favorite university or institution, they'll have my blessing and thanks!

Any comments or opposing views are welcome.

—R. Stephenson

Patrick Reid has called the following website to my attention. It bills itself as "all auctions in one place." Have a look.

The Saleroom is a site that tracks numerous UK auctions and includes links to live sales. One can search by subject,



Past Auctions (most recent first):
Sothebys Travel, Atlases, Maps and Photographs (May 24, 2022).
Dominic Winter (April 6/7, 2022).
Sagan & Delås (Oslo) The Library of Otto R. Norland (April 2, 2022).
Bonhams (London) Travel & Exploration (September 14, 2021).
Potter & Potter (Chicago) Fine Books & Manuscripts (August 28, 2021).
Christie's Valuable Books & Manuscripts (14 July 2021).
Bonhams (London) Travel & Exploration (10 February 2021).
Art + Object (Auckland) Rare Books (16 September 2020).
Skinner. Penguin bowling pins. (1 April 2020).
Swann Galleries. ExEx satirical lithograph. (10 March 2020).
Bonhams (London) Travel & Exploration (26 February 2020).
Swann Galleries. A Byrd archive. (20 February 2020).
Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC (Tallahassee, FL) September Military & Fine Art Auction (12 September 2019).
Sothebys (London) Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History (14 May 2019).
Art + Object (Auckland) Rare Antarctic Books & Related Items from the Library of Richard Reaney (11 April 2019).
Whyte's (Dublin) Several Antarctic titles (6 April 2019).
Forum Auctions (London) A Wilson letter (28 March 2019).
Cheffins (Cambridge) Frank Debenham's ice pick (7 March 2019).
Bonhams (London) Travel and Exploration (6 February 2019).
Tennants (North Yorkshire) The Roger Casson Collection: A Library of Polar Exploration, Travel and Local History Books (10 January 2019).
Golding Young & Mawer (Lincolnshire) Grantham Collective Sale (3 January 2019).
Christie's Valuable Books & Manuscripts (12 December 2018).
Bonhams (London) Watches and Wristwatchers (20 November 2018).
Leslie Hindman (Chicago) The Adventure & Exploration Library of Steve Fossett, Part I (31 October 2018).
Bonhams (New York) Exploration & Travel (25 September 2018).
Swann (New York) Printed & Manuscript Americana (12 April 2018).
PBA Galleries (San Francisco) Americana, Travel & Exploration, World History, Cartography. Sale 638 (22 March 2018).
Swann. Autographs. (22 March 2018).
Markham manuscript at Thomson Roddick. (21 March 2018).
Gorringe's Spring Fine Sale (6 March 2018).
Bonhams (London) Exploration & Travel (7 February 2018).
Sothebys (New York) Fine Printed and Manuscript Americana (17 January 2018).
Christie's (New York) Russian America & Polar Exploration: Highlights from the Martin Greene Library (7 December 2017).
Sothebys (London) Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History (14 November 2017).
Sothebys (London) The Library of John and Suzanne Bonham (26 September 2017).
Art + Object (Auckland) Rare Book Sale (3 May 2017).
Bonhams (London) Travel & Exploration Sale (1 February 2017).
Bonhams (New York) Exploration & Travel Sale (20 September 2016).
Michael Treloar's Auction of Manuscripts, Books, Photographs and Maps (28 August 2016).
Art & Object Sale (10 August 2016).
Cordy's Special Antique, Art & Firearm Sale (5 July 2016).
Sotheby's. Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History (28 April 2016).
Swann Galleries, Printed & Manuscript Americana (February 4, 2016).
Sotheby's Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History (17 November 2015).
Sotheby's Fine Asian, Australian & European Arts & Design (27 October 2015).
Christie's Travel, Science and Natural History (8 October 2015).
Sotheby's. The Library of Franklin Brooke-Hitching (Fourth of four sales on 30 September 2015).
Sotheby's. The Library of Franklin Brooke-Hitching (Third of four sales on 19 March 2015).
Bonham's Travel, Exploration and Natural History (3 December 2014).
Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions (19-20 November 2014).
Christie's Travel, Science and Natural History (8 October 2014).
Sotheby's. The Library of Franklin Brooke-Hitching (Second of four sales on 30 September 2014).
Bloomsbury. Important Books, Manuscripts & Works on Paper (19 May 2014).
Sotheby's. The Library of Franklin Brooke-Hitching (First of four sales on 27 March 2014).
Christie's Travel, Science and Natural History. (10 October 2013).
Wooley & Wallis (23 January 2013).
Bonham's Polar Sale II: Scott & Amundsen (4 December 2012).
Christie's Travel, Science and Natural History. The Polar Sale. (9 October 2012).
Bonham's Polar Sale: Scott and Amundsen Centenary (30 March 2012).
Michael Treloar's Auction of Manuscripts, Books, Photographs and Artwork (11 December 2011).
Christie's Travel, Science & Natural History Sale (29 September 2011).
Bonham's Papers & Portraits: The Roy Davids Collection Part II (29 March 2011).
Bonham's Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs (22 March 2011).
PBA's Rare Americana - Travel & Exploration - Cruise Ship Memorabilia - Cartography (11 March 2011).
Planes, Trains & Automobiles Sale—Old Town Auctions (19 November 2010).
Sotheby's Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History Sale (4 November 2010).
Christie's Exploration & Travel Sale (22 September 2010).
Bonham's Exploration & Travel Sale (15 September 2010).
Michael Treloar Antiquarian Booksellers Sale (18 July 2010).
Wordie Collection at Spink (14 July 2010).
South Polar Times at Bloomsbury New York (23 June 2010).
Scott letters at International Autograph Auctions, Ltd. (12 June 2010).
Bamfords Ltd Collectors and Toy Sale (26 May 2010).
Lyon & Turnbull, Books, Maps & Manuscripts (13 January 2010).
Hawker Library at Australian Book Auctions (23 November 2009).
Christie's Travel, Science & Natural History (15 October 2009).
Frank Wild's C.B.E. and Polar Medal to be sold in London (18 September 2009).
Bonham's Exploration & Travel (16 September 2009).
Bonham's A Library of Hawaii and the South Pacific (6 April 2009).
Bloomsbury's Photographs, Travel, Military, Natural History, Maps & Atlases Sale (25 March 2009).
Christie's Exploration & Travel Sale (25 September 2008).
Swann Galleries. Fine Books including Works on Polar Exploration (3 April 2008).
Imre Friedmann's Antarctic books at Dawson & Nye (24 January 2008).
Shackleton photo at Bloomsbury (19 December 2007).
Discovery napkin ring at Onslows (27 November 2007).
Important 19th & 20th Century Photographs at Swann (15 October 2007).
Christie's Exploration & Travel Sale (26 September 2007).
PBA Galleries Natural History - Travel & Exploration - Sporting - Maps &Amp; Atlases Sale (9 August 2007).
Bonham's Printed Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Photography (26 June 2007).
John Levinson Sale at Swann (24 May 2007).
Travel & Exploration Sale at PBA Galleries (10 May 2007).
Frank R. Streeter Library at Christie's (17 & 18 April 2007).
PBA Galleries Travel & Exploration Sale (25 January 2007).
The Antarctic Library of Raymond J. Adie, Cheffins, Cambridge, UK (26 October 2006).
Christie's Polar Sale (27 September 2006).
Central Mass Auctions (25 May 2006).
Anderson & Garland Sale (21-22 March 2006).
Dominic Winter Book Auctions (9 November 2005).
Christie's Exploration & Travel with the Polar Sale (21 September 2005).
Discovery Book Auctions (14 September 2005).
Christie's Travel and Natural History (20 April 2005).
Christie's Exploration & Travel and Polar Sale (23 September 2004).
An Armitage diary at Bloomsbury Book Auctions (22 April 2004).
Rare whaling title at Swann (15 April 2004).
The Quentin Keynes Collection, Part I, at Christie's (7 April 2004).
Lawrences of Crewkerne (14 January 2004).
Tom Crean's Medal to be Auctioned (3 October 2003).
Christie's Sale (24-25 September 2003).
Some Upcoming Auctions (16 June 2003, Pyrmont, Australia; and 24 June 2003, London).
Christie's Sale (8 May 2003).
Christie's Sale (25 September 2002).
Christie's Travel & Natural History Sale (30 May 2002).
Christie's Sale (9 May 2002).
Christie's Polar Sale (25 September 2001).
Christie's Travel & Exploration Sale (21 September 2000).
Christie's Travel & Exploration Sale (18 April 2000).


Tuesday 24 May 2022. London
Prices realized include the buyer's premium.

Eight lots of Antarctic interest: 104-111, with six included here (the remaining two were Hurley photographs).

Lot 104. Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) | A Norwegian flag from his expeditions to the north and south poles. A Norwegian flag which acompanied Amundsen on his polar expeditions, and was later given to Fridtoj Nansen's nephew Einar Nansen, accompanied by a letter of provenance by Gustav S. Amundsen dated 9 May 1935.
Norwegian flag (36.5 x 51cm.), silk, some staining.
WITH: autograph letter signed by Gustav S. Amundsen to Einar Walther Nansen on Roald Amundsen's headed-paper, stating in Norwegian that "I hereby confirm that this is one of the small flags that Roald Amundsen brought with him during the sailing of the North western sea route, on his way to the South Pole, during the sailing of the North eastern sea route, and under the 'Amundsen-Ellsworth-Nobile Transpolar Flight' in 1926. Heggeli, 9 May 1935. Gustav S. Amundsen"
Information from the Roald Amundsen house at Uranienborgin, Oslo, states that Amundsen took twelve of these flags with him on his expeditions and later gave them to close friends, family and notable figures including King Haakon VII, Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen and Fritz Gottlieb Zapffe (now at the Polar Musuem in Tromso).
Gustav Amundsen, Roald's brother, was given the present flag; he died in 1930, and Gustav's son, also named Gustav, and affectionately nicknamed 'Goggen', gave this flag with a letter of provenance in 1935 to Einar Walther Nansen.
Another of these flags presented by Gustav S. Amundsen to the person who established the Roald Amundsen Museum was sold in these rooms on the 7 May 2009, lot 222.
PROVENANCE: Roald Amundsen (1872-1928); his brother Gustav "Busken" Amundsen (1868-1930); his son Gustav "Goggen" Amundsen (1894-1975); given to Fridtoj Nansen's nephew Einar Walther Nansen (1892-1950), with a letter of provenance; thence by descent.
Estimate: £20,000-30,000. RESULTS: £88,200

Lot 105. Shackleton and others | The South Polar Times. London, 1907 and 1914, 3 volumes, vol. 1 inscribed by Scott to his mother.
A VERY FINE SET OF THE SOUTH POLAR TIMES WITH AN IMPORTANT PRESENTATION INSCRIPTION BY CAPTAIN SCOTT IN VOLUME 1 TO HIS MOTHER. Volumes 1 and 2 are from the limited edition of 250 copies printed in 1907 these both being copy number 3. Volume 3 is from the limited edition of 350 copies printed in 1914 this being copy number 59.
PROVENANCE: volumes 1 and 2: Presented by Captain Robert Falcon Scott to his mother Hannah Scott, inscribed on the half-title of volume 1 "To my dearest mother | with best love | Robert Scott | Oct. 1907".
volume 3: partially erased inscription, dated December 1916; Col. A.S. Turnham, presentation inscription to the Cavalry Club; Cavalry Club bookplate.
Estimate: £24,000-30,000. RESULTS: £27,720

Lot 106. Ernest Shackleton (editor) | Aurora Australis. Antarctica [Winter Quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition], 1908-09.
FIRST EDITION, 4to (260 x 190mm.), INSCRIBED BY FRANK WILD'S BROTHER LAURENCE TO HIS GRANDSON on preliminary blank leaf (see provenance), 94 printed leaves, including coloured title-page and 11 etched or lithographed illustrations by George Marston (including one in sepia and 3 tipped-in), bound by Bernard Day in original bevelled venesta boards taken from expedition packing crates, inside lower cover stencilled "BRITISH ANT / SHIP NIM / LYTT", backed with leather from horse harnesses, title and penguin motif blindstamped on spine, sewn with green silk binding cord, edges uncut, one or two unobtrusive wormholes at lower edge of some leaves, minor dust-stains and spotting, a few small wormholes to boards, joints repaired retaining original blindstamped backstrip, lower corner of upper board professionally restored.
LITERATURE: Conrad p. 146; Renard 1435; Rosove 304.A1.b; Spence 1095; Taurus Collection 60; Robert B. Stephenson census on (number 276).
PROVENANCE: Laurence C. Wild, presumably gifted to him by his brother Frank Wild CBE FRGS (1873-1939).
Inscribed by Laurence Wild to his grandson Nicholas J. Fright on his 21st. birthday December 1970 "To keep in memory of his Great-uncle Frank Wild, who made this book in the Antarctic."
Sotheby's London, 22 June 1995, lot 188, to Antipodean Books, from whom acquired by the present owner.
Estimate: £50,000-70,000. RESULTS: £100,800

Lot 107. British Antarctic "Terra Nova" Expedition, 1910-1913 | Sledge presented to Admiral John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher.
An early twentieth century 'Nansen' pattern polar sledge presented to the First Sea Lord, Admiral John "Jacky" Fisher wooden sledge (219cm. x 60.5cm. x 17.8cm.), with pallet deck raised on three pairs of upright bars with cross bars, on two wooden runners, curving up at each end, fixed with rope and hide lashing and reinforced with metal brackets, with rope-lashed curved ends.
This sledge is identical to the sledge owned by Francis Davies (1885-1952) who was the leading shipwright on the Terra Nova expedition, and which was displayed at the Spink exhibition "200 Years of Polar Exploration 1819-2019" (London, 18-24 November 2019) and illustrated in the accompanying catalogue with the following text: "The Nansen Sledge, named after its inventor, Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen, the renowned Norwegian explorer, scientist, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, whose techniques of polar travel and his innovations in equipment and clothing influenced a generation of subsequent Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, and who had first come to the fore for his first crossing of the Greenland Ice-Cap in 1888. He invented the lightweight "Nansen sledge" with broad ski-like runners. A number of these sledges were used on the Terra Nova expedition." (200 Years of Polar Exploration, p. 130).
This style of sledge is based on a sledge Nansen designed in 1888 for his crossing of Greenland and was intended to be lightweight but strong enough to carry all of the necessary equipment and be hauled by six men.
This sledge was presented to John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, who was First Sea Lord 1904-10 and 1914-15. In 1886 Scott first came into contact with Admiral Fisher when he served on the Rover, of which Admiral Fisher was at that time commander, and Scott's last naval position was as an administrator in Sir John "Jacky" Fisher's Admiralty from March - December 1909, serving as Naval Assistant to the Second Sea Lord Admiral Sir F. Bridgeman.
PROVENANCE: John Fisher, 1st baron Fisher, Admiral and First Sea Lord 1904-10 and 1914-15, of Kilverstone Hall, Norfolk (1841-1920); thence by family descent; purchased in 1991 from the 4th baron.
Estimate: £30,000-50,000. RESULTS: £50,400

Lot 110. Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition | Shackleton's Chilean Historical and Geographical Society medallion, 1916.
Bronze medallion (diameter 40mm.) with relief inscription on the reverse 'AL PILOTO PARDO | Y COMPAÑEROS, | SALVAMENTO | DE LA EXPEDICION | SHACKLETON | 1916'
PROVENANCE: Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874-1922); thence by descent; Christie's 25 September 2001, lot 100
Estimate: £20,000-30,000. RESULTS: £52,920

Lot 111. Sir Ernest Shackleton | Large manuscript map of Antarctica drawn and signed by Shackleton and dated 1918.
Large manuscript map of Antarctica with routes relating to the expedition of 1914-16, drawn and signed by Shackleton with a presentation inscription dated 27 November 1918.
MANUSCRIPT MAP (1415 x 935mm.), in blue and red crayon on paper, with several tracks relating to the expedition of 1914-1916, SIGNED BY SHACKLETON AT HIS FARTHEST POINT SOUTH IN 1909 (880 23') and with a signed presentation inscription by Shackleton to D.D. Hirst "In remembrance of his assistance on H.M.S. Dublin 27 Nov 1918", short tears at folds.
PROVENANCE: Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922); signed presentation inscription by Shackleton to D.D. Hirst "In remembrance of his assistance on H.M.S. Dublin 27 Nov 1918"; Sotheby's, Valuable Printed Books, 27-28 June 1991, lot 459.
Estimate: £50,000-70,000. RESULTS: £176,400


Wednesday, Thursday 6/7 April 2022. Cirencester, UK

Seven lots of Antarctic interest: 44-46 and 49-52. The only one that pops up is Lot 50: The Hope Bay Howler, an expedition newspaper associated with Operation Tabarin and not widely known.
"The Hope Bay Howler, nos. 1-7 [all published?], 21 June - 25 December 1945, cyclostyled from typewritten and hand drawn copy, the first 2 issues 4 leaves, the remaining issues 3 leaves, printed on both sides throughout, issues 1-6 with side and corner staple, issue 7 stapled separately at head, each title-page indicating a guaranteed circulation of 100 copies, folio, together with some ephemera relating to the American explorer of Greenland and the Arctic, Louise Arner Boyd (1887-1972)...
In 1943 the British government launched a top secret expedition to the Antarctic which, having been approved, set out in November 1943. Codenamed Tabarin the operation was intended to stop safe anchorages to enemy raiding vessels and to gather meteorological data for allied shipping in the South Atlantic. Tabarin also actively reinforced British territorial claims in the Falkland Islands. The Hope Bay Howler was the unofficial base magazine, offering an amusing and intimate chronicle of Antarctic life. Rare."
The estimate: £200-300. RESULTS: £1,800 (Hammer).


Saturday 2 April 2022. Sagan & Delås, Oslo

This is an impressive sale of Arctic and Antarctic material, 346 lots in all, the library of noted Norwegian collector Otto R. Norland. The estimates seem quite reasonable. The lowest estimate is €30 (lot 156), the highest €40,000-60,000 (lot 161). The priciest Antarctic lot is Shackleton's deluxe edition of 'The Heart of the Antarctic' (lot 252, €12,000-18,000). Very many Nansen items, books & manuscripts. Quite a few signed copies.

For a write-up on the libraary and Norland go to:
For an article in Fine Books Magazine go to:

RESULTS: Lot 252, Shackleton's Edition de luxe of The Heart of the Antarctic, went for NOK 255,000 Hammer (£22,463, €26,922, $29,281), against an estimate of NOK 120,000-180,000, €12,000-18,000. This was the sale's second highest hammer price. The highest at NOK 950,000 was Lot 161 (estimate NOK 400,000-600,000, €40,000-60,000).


Saturday 14 September 2021. Bonhams London Knightbridge

Catalogue not issued yet.


Saturday 28 August 2021. Chicago, IL.

(RESULTS in bold excluding buyer's premium):

Lots 139 through 195 are polar books (mostly Antarctic) consigned by Joe Fitzsimmons, noted polar collector. (See the Bonhams, New York, sale of 25 September 2018 below.) For anyone embarking on collecting Antarcticana this is an opportunity to pick up many good books. Some are in large lots, most arranged by subject. There are few rare items. The two with the highest estimates are Lot 147 (a large Byrd related 1957 oil painting by Leland Curtis showing the USS Bear in Neny Fjord, Antarctica. (Est. $4,000-$6,000) and Lot 176, a set of Wilkes with the Atlas, first trade edition. (Est. $5,000-$7,000).

RESULTS: This was quite a successful sale as far as the polar lots were concerned. All lots sold. Only 5 lots went for under their low estimates. Including these 5, only 14 went for under the high estimates. The highest hammer price was $10,000 for Lot 146, James Burney, A Chronological History of the South Sea or Pacific Ocean (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000), followed by $9,000 for Lot 176, the Wilkes set (Estimate: $5,000-$7,000). Add to these hammer prices a 25% buyers premium. Conclusion: Polar titles remain in demand. Joe Fitzsimmons should be pleased!


Wednesday 14 July 2021. Christie's. London.

There were two Antarctic titles in this sale.
Lot 167: Shackleton's The Heart of the Antarctic, 1909. Edition de luxe. Signed by the members of the shore party. 3 volumes. Estimate: £10,000-15,000. RESULTS: £22,500.
Lot 168: Scott's Last Expedition 1913. Presentation copy from Kathleen Scott. Estimate: £2,000-3,000. RESULTS: £3,750.


Wednesday 10 February 2020. Bonhams. London.


Wednesday 16 September 2020. Auckland, New Zealand

Lots 169 through 226 are Antarctic. The usual Antarcticana plus some unusual items and ephemera including Zippo cigarette lighters, a replica Worsley sextant, medals and coins.

Art+Object has pointed out the following for consideration (RESULTS in bold in New Zealand dollars excluding buyer's premium):

169.  Roald Amundsen – The South Pole. London 1912. $600
175. Book-plates relating to the Byrd Expedition [with the signature of C.E. Lofgren] and Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-59. DNS
177. Borchgrevink – First on the Antarctic Continent. George Newnes 1901. $600
178. Stone pendant with gold monogram inscribed British Antarctic expedition, Terra Nova R.Y.S. $600
179. Brown – The Voyage of the Scotia. Edinburgh 1906. $1,500
184. Two brass uniform buttons one from ‘Nimrod’ and one ‘Discovery’.
Various Lot Numbers – A collection of Operation Deep Freeze Zippo and other cigarette lighters. $1,000
196. William G. Burn Murdoch – From Edinburgh to the Antarctic. London 1894. $600
197. G. Murray – The Antarctic Manual for the use of the Expedition of 1901. London RGS 1901. $3,000
198. US Press photographs 1961-62. DNS
199. Paperweight of Kenyte lava with brass plaque ‘Keynite Lava. Brought back as ballast in H.M.S. Terra Nova. Antarctic Expedition 1910’. $800
205. Scott – The Voyage of Discovery. Murray 1913. Handwritten  on prelim ‘The Ice King’ J.D. Morrison, Chief Engineer of the SY ‘Morning’ and signed with his initials at the end of the lyrics. $2,050
206 & 207. Scott – Scott's Last Expedition’. London 1913, first editions. $450, $350
210. Sextant. Replica of Captain Frank Worsely’s Sextant used on the Endurance Expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s in 1914-1916. Brass construction and filters. In wooden presentation case. $380
211. E.H. Shackleton – Some Results of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909. London, RGS 1909. $1,500
212. E.H. Shackleton – The Heart of the Antarctic. London 1909. DNS


Wednesday 1 April 2020. Marlborough, MA.

Lot 270. Set of Six Penguin Bowling Pins and Balls with Two Additional Pins, Harry F. Kohaut, Inc., Newark, New Jersey, c. 1935, the six turned and painted penguin "pins" with rubber beaks and two black- and white-painted balls, and two other similar penguin "pins" with slightly different paint schemes and wood beaks, ht. 12, ball dia. 5 in.
Note: Kohaut filed a patent application for his "Game Pin or Similar Article" on September 19, 1935. The pins were originally sold in sets of six with balls as a bowling-type game. Additional information available upon request.
Estimate $2,500-3,500

Sold for $3,250 including buyer's premium.

RESULTS: $5,250 with buyer's premium.

Thanks to Peter Spielmann.


Tuesday 10 March 2020. New York.

Lot 15. (ANTARCTICA.) An Exploring Expedition on the Canal Street Plan / The Exploring Expedition at the South Pole, Waiting for Stores. Lithograph, 12 1/2 x 20 inches; moderate foxing, 3 short closed tears and 2 tape remnants on left edge. New York, H.R. Robinson, 1838.

"A satire on the United States Exploring Expedition led by Charles Wilkes, which was then heading southward to chart the Antarctic coast. The intrepid explorers are seen camping without a tent, surrounded by hungry polar bears, and cooking their boots over a small fire."
Estimate: $1,200-1,8000.

RESULTS: $5,250 with buyer's premium.


Wednesday 26 February 2020. Bonhams. London.

The South Polar lots are 213 through 226, appearing at the end of the sale. Included are some standard Antarctic titles. The three lots of interest are Lots 215 and 216 (a Hurley photo album and a collection of 20 Hurley views. Estimate: £30,000-50,000 and £5,000-7,000, respectively), Lot 223 (three glass whisky jugs belonging to Scott. Estimate: £1,000-2,000) and Lot 226, a Wilson watercolor "The Slopes of Ferrar & Pram Point – from Crater Hill." Estimate £3,000-5,000.
(22 February 2020)

Lot 215: Frank Hurley. Photographs of Scenes and Incidents in Connection with the Happenings to the Weddell Sea Party, 1914, 1915, 1916, [1917]
      £87,562 ($114,131) including buyer's premium. Well over estimate.
Lot 216: Frank Hurley, A good collection of 20 views from Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, including including images of expedition members on the ice, with dogs, glaciers, and South Georgia, [1914-1917, printed later] (20).
      £8,187 ($10,671) including buyer's premium. Over estimate.
Lot 223: 3 glass whisky jugs belonging to Scott, 1908.
      £27,562 ($35,825) including buyer's premium. Many, many times over estimate!
Lot 226: Edward Wilson. 'The Slopes of Ferrar & Pram Point - from Crater Hill', Antarctica.
      £8,812 ($11,486). including buyer's premium. Over estimate.


Thursday 20 February 2020. New York.

Lot 27. BYRD, RICHARD E. Small archive of items sent to publisher of the Syracuse Post-Standard Jerome Dewitt Barnum, including 6 TLsS

INCLUDES GOGGLES FLOWN ON HIS 1926 NORTH POLE FLIGHT BYRD, RICHARD E. Small archive of items sent to publisher of the Syracuse Post-Standard Jerome Dewitt Barnum, including 6 TLsS, "DickByrd," "Dick," "REB," or "Byrd"; a printed copy of his September 1926 National Geographic article Signed and Inscribed, "REByrd Jr"; as well as a small flag and pair of goggles flown during his historic flights. The letters, mostly sending gifts and thanks. Together 6 pages, 4to, most on "Byrd Arctic Expedition" stationery; scattered uneven toning, folds, minor loss to upper corner of one. With the original envelope for the 9 September 1927 letter, with "Air-Mail Saves Time" cancel. The article, "The First Flight to the North Pole," pages 355-388 removed from the complete magazine, "Oct 4, 1926 / With kindest regards," on page 356. With duplicate leaf (pp. 355-56) bound in and additionally signed and inscribed by Floyd Bennett: "With best wishes." Small 4to, blue morocco with gilt titling, joints rubbed; blue morocco slipcase. The flag, bearing 48 stars, originally sent as an enclosure with either the 9 September 1927 or 20 July 1931 letter. 4x6 inches, cloth. The goggles, yellow-tinted with lining and elastic strap, mentioned in the 9 September 1927 letter. 6 1/2x2 1/2x1 inches; good condition; in original Andrew J. Lloyd Company mailing box addressed to "Mrs. R.E. Byrd." Vp, 1926-31.
9 September 1927: "I am happy to send you an American flag which I carried for you on the 'America' on our Trans-Atlantic flight from New York to France. ". . . I am also s ...
18 October 1927: ". . . I am tickled to death to hear that the Junior League in Boston netted $10,000 on the lecture. Of course, you realize that their having me was due to the fine send off you gave me in Syracuse. The lecture business has come off O.K., and I owe a good deal of it to you. . . ."
9 September 1927: "I am happy to send you an American flag which I carried for you on the 'America' on our Trans-Atlantic flight from New York to France. ". . . I am also sending you a pair of snow goggles which we carried with us on the 'Josephine Ford' on our flight across the Pole, May 9, 1926, and I will be glad to carry with me on our Antarctic expedition another American flag for you if you wish it. . . ." 20 July 1931: "Here is the flag I carried for you across the South Pole . . . ," with holograph postscript signed: "I'm sorry the flag is not large but as you know every ounce of weight counted." With--A letter to the son of J.D. Barnum from his grandmother, Mrs. Charles M. Crouse, mentioning that she saw Igloo, Byrd's pet wire fox terrier, "holding Byrd's stockings in his mouth without harm until his master was ready for them." 2 pages, square 8vo, personal stationery, written on recto and verso of a single sheet. Syracuse, 8 October 1930. There is some controversy over whether Byrd actually crossed the North Pole. Some have argued that the top speed of his plane coupled with the headwinds make his claim improbable, though it was verified by the U.S. Navy and the National Geographic Society at the time. Nevertheless, material from the flight is uncommon at auction, and desirable both as an aviation item and as Arctic memorabilia.
Estimate: $3,000-4,000.

RESULTS: $5,250 including the buyer's premium.


Thursday 12 September 2019. Tallahassee, FL.

Lots 5051, 5053-5063, 5065-5066, 5068-5070, 5072-5077, 5087-5089, 5091-5099 are Antarctic related, mostly items taken from the Cape Royds and Cape Evans huts by Ensign Earl Johnson of the USCGC Northwind during Operation Deep Freeze II in 1957. Also a few standard Antarctic books.
—Thanks to Greg Glade
(30 August 2019)

Lot 5051. Nimrod expedition wood crate. $1,850
Lot 5053. Terra Nova salt jar. $475
Lot 5054. Nimrod cocoa. $310
Lot 5055. Nimrod syrup jar. $370
Lot 5056. Terra Nova cocoa. $300
Lot 5057. Terra Nova ham tin. $320
Lot 5058. Terra Nova rabbit tin. $575
Lot 5059. Nimrod ham tin. $475
Lot 5060. Terra Nova pony horseshoe. $700
Lot 5061. Nimrod enamelware place. $950
Lot 5062. Nimrod pea soup can. $575
Lot 5063. Nimrod pea soup can. $550
Lot 5065. Terra Nova dog chain spike. $750
Lot 5066. Nimrod box of 6 vovos yind. $2,100
Lot 5068. Terra Nova cocoa tin. $625
Lot 5069. Nimrod box of soap. $310
Lot 5070. Terra Nova boiled fowl tin. $400
Lot 5072. Nimrod cocoa tin. $625
Lot 5073. Nimrod cocoa tin. $550
Lot 5074. Terra Nova gooseberry tin. $450
Lot 5075. Terra Nova salt jar. $475
Lot 5076. Terra Nova horseshoe nails and tag. $975
Lot 5077. Terra Nova damson tin. $575
Lot 5087. Terra Nova powder egg tin. $525
Lot 5088. Terra Nova powder milk tin. $450
Lot 5089. Nimrod matchbox. $825
Lot 5091. Earl Johnson ephemera. $625
Lot 5092. Northwind ships flag and signal. $450
Lot 5093. 11 arctic and antarctic first edition. $350
Lot 5094. Amundsen, The South Pole, 2 volumes. First Edition. $280
Lot 5095. Cook, Through the First Antarctic Night. First edition. $160
Lot 5096. Shackleton, The Heart of the Antarctic, 2 volumes. First Edition $60
Lot 5097. Shackleton, South. First US Edition. $110
Lot 5098. Scott's Last Expedition, 2 volumes. $120
Lot 5099. Mill, Life of Sir Ernest Shackleton. First US edition.


Tuesday 14 May 2019. London.

Lot 282 is described as "an extremely rare album" of photographs by Ponting, Scott, Bowers and others. There are 69 mounted prints in all. The catalogue description notes "From the annotations in this album, it seems clear the album was compiled for purposes of publication—one of the few to have surfaced from the earliest period of reproduction."
Estimate: £15,000-20,000.
—Thanks to Richard Fattorini
(28 April 2019)

RESULTS: £18,750.


Thursday 11 April 2019, Noon.. Art + Object, 3 Abbey Street, Newton, Auckland 1010, New Zealand.

Art+Object is pleased to announce that its first rare book auction for 2019 will be held on Thursday 11th of April and will feature the most important collection of Antarctic books to have been offered in New Zealand, the library of Richard Reaney, author, historian and Polar adventurer. Richard Reaney has visited significant historic sites in Antarctica on numerous occasions and played an important part in many of the commemorative expeditions to South Georgia, Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic Islands.

Over a period of 50 years Richard has visited many countries amassing this world class collection of books on Antarctica, as well as numerous books relating to other international expeditions and the ‘Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration’.

Highlights of this sale include (estimates in New Zealand dollars):

Lot 55. The Antarctic Diary 1914 -1917, of James Paton [Scotty]. Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the diary begins Hobart 23 December 1914. in original binding of brown textured cloth with gilt titles. Telegram mounted to back endpaper date 6 April 1916 ‘Thanks Coming Soon, Jim Paton.’ 207pp. Typescript. I WOULD THINK THE VALUE OF THISE WOULD BE LARGELY DEPENDENT ON WHETHER OR NOT IT SHEDS NEW LIGHT ON THE ROSS SEA PARTY. Estimate: $6,000 - $8,000

Lot 57. Photograph album. 55 photographs by Frank Hurley and others, most purchased from the Melbourne Age. Various sizes. Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000

Lot 58. George V Polar medal [1910] Silver with original white ribbed ribbon and 4 bars for Antarctic 1910-13; 1912-14; 1914-16 and 1917. THE CATALOGUE SAYS THAT 'ONLY ONE MAN WAS AWARDED FOUR CLASPS TO HIS POLAR MEDAL—FRANK WILD.' BUT IMPORTANTLY IT DOESN'T SAY THAT THIS ACTUAL MEDAL WAS AWARDED TO WILD. See Estimate: $5,000 - $10,000

Lot 73. E.H. Shackleton’s - ‘The Heart of the Antarctic’, Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909, Deluxe Limited Edition, 3 volume set bound in vellum. Heinemann 1909. Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000

Lot 75. The extremely rare first edition of Shackleton’s ‘Aurora Australis’ published and printed in Antarctica at Cape Royds during the Nimrod Expedition of 1907-1909. THIS WILL BE THE THIRD AURORA COMING TO AUCTION IN RECENT MONTHS. Estimate: $80,000 - $120,000

Lot 76. Lady Emily Shackleton – Two personal handwritten diaries, 1909 & 1910. Previoiusy sold at Christie's in 2001. Estimate: $8,000 - $10,000

Lot 80. E.H. Shackleton - ‘The South Polar Times’, 1902-1914 . [3 volumes], London Smith Elder and Co 1907-1914. Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000

This sale consists of some 270 lots and includes many rare titles as well as a large number of other books, historic photographs, and ephemera relating to Antarctica.
The auction will be streamed in real time and online bidding will be available via
Art and Object, Auckland New Zealand
Enquiries: Pam Plumbly, Rare Book Department.

0800 80 60 01
+64 9 354 4646 
+64 21 448 200

You can see Richard in his library at

—R. Stephenson
(16 January 2019)

UPDATE: The online catalogue is now up and you can download a pdf version.
There are a total of 270 lots, many of them multi-title lots.
The highlights are those listed above.
This sale presents a fine opportunity for new collectors in New Zealand to add to their collections. The shipping costs to Europe or North America will make many of the multi-title, lower cost lots, too expensive.
—R. Stephenson
(18 March 2019)

Art+Object gave the following report on its website:
Following on from the success of the Important Paintings & Contemporary Art auction on April 4, the sale of Rare Antarctic Books from the Library of Richard Reaney on April 11 was one of Art+Object's most successful rare book and manuscript auctions to date. Art+Object is delighted to report an auction total of $354,000 (US$240,720), with the highest price achieved $159,900 for Ernest H. Shackleton's first edition Aurora Australis which was a highlight during the auction viewing. Exceptional results were also achieved for the Diary of James Paton Boatswain S.Y. Aurora ($10,455), Ernest H. Shackleton's first edition three volume The Heart of the Antarctic from 1909 ($19,680) and an original unpresented Polar Medal - George V 1910 featuring four clasps from 1910-1917 representing various expeditions ($17,220). The auction was very well attended by local New Zealand collectors with spirited online bidding from collectors around the world. Some of the preliminary highlights included (prices in USD added in parentheses):
6. Autograph Album - Terra Nova Expedition $1,720 ($1,170)
21. Apsley Cherry-Garrard - The Worst Journey in the World $5,535 ($3,764)
28. Discovery Expedition Aneroid Barometer $5,045 ($3,431)
31. Endurance Spar Two Fragments of Wood $2,585 ($1,758)
43. Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky $305 ($207)
50. George Murray - The Antarctic Manual for Use of the Expedition of 1901 $1,970 ($1,340)
52. James Murray and George Marston - Antarctic Days $11,070 ($7,528)
53. Thomas Musgrave - Castaways on the Auckland Isles $1,785 ($1,214)
55. Diary of James Paton Boatswain S.Y. Aurora $10,455 ($7,109)
57. Frank Hurley - Album of Antarctic Photographs $11,070 ($7,528)
58. Original Unpresented Polar Medal - George V 1910 $17,220 ($11,710)
73. Ernest H. Shackleton - The Heart of the Antarctic $19,680 ($13,382)
75. Ernest H. Shackleton - Aurora Australis $159,900 ($108,732)
80. E.H. Shackleton, L.C. Bernacchi and A. Cherry-Gerrard - South Polar Times $17,220 ($11,710)
83. Griffith Taylor - With Scott the Silver Lining $1475 ($1003)
89. Frank Wild - Shackleton's Last Voyage $1,105 ($751)
124. Lars Christenson - Such is the Antarctic $575 ($391)
180. Alfred Lansing - Endurance $190 ($129)
266. Frank Worsely - Endurance, An Epic of Polar Adventure $705 ($479)

* All listed prices include buyer's premium and GST. A full list of prices realised will be published online shortly.

As expected, the Aurora was the highlight of the sale. Since 2015, six Auroras have appeared in the salerooms:
Copy 315. Brooke-Hitching, 30 September 2015, £122,500 ($185,269)
Copy 316. Petit Pois, 28 April 2016, £75,000 ($109,560)
Copy 317. Dunlop Giant Tick, 1 February 2017, £68,750 ($87,017)
Copy 319. Fitzsimmons, 25 September 2018 , $97,500
Copy 320. Fossett, 31 October 2018, $87,500
Copy 321. Reaney, 11 April 2019, $108,732
(Prices include buyers premium)
For further details, see

—R. Stephenson
(13 April 2019)

UPDATE: The winning bid on the Aurora Australis was made online and apparently from a New Zealand bidder. This suggests that it may be a collector which, if so, means it will remain in private hands.
I've learned that the Polar Medal went to a Czechoslovakian from Prague.
—R. Stephenson
(20 April 2019)


Saturday 6 April 2019. Dublin.

There are several Antarctic lots in this sale: 275, Ross, Voyage of Discovery; 277, Scott's Discovery and Ponting's Great White South; 279, Shackleton, Heart of the Antarctic, signed first edition; 280 Shackleton autograph; 281 Priestley autograph; 282, bottle of Shackleton replica whisky; 283, Amundsen, South Pole along with commemorative silver spoon, a bargain; 284, Scott, Last Expedition and booklet on Discovery; and 285, Wild, Shackleton's Last Voyage.

Estimates: The estimates seem reasonably low.

—Thanks to Mark McClean

(23 March 2019)

RESULTS: The Ross (lot 275) went for €680, Scott's Discovery (277), €200; Signed Heart of the Antarctic (279), €1800 (highest of the Antarctic lots); Priestley autograph (281) €190; whisky (282), €140; South Pole with spoon (283) €340; and Wild (285) €240.
The Shackleton autograph (280) and Scott's Last Expedition (284), did not sell.

(13 April 2019)


Thursday 28 March 2019. London.

Lot 178
Antarctic Explorer. Wilson (Edward Adrian, Antarctic explorer and naturalist, 1872-1912) Autograph Letter signed "Edward A Wilson" and "EAW" to Mr Haskoll, 4pp., 8vo, 19 Holland Street, Kensington, [London], 15th March 1910, thanking Haskoll and his pupils for their encouragement in his forthcoming participation in Scott's Antarctic expedition, regretting that he cannot come to the school and speak, "the business of a preparation for years of isolation out of reach of telephones & general stores", and promising to paint a picture of a Penguin, "I will send you something Antarctic instead of necessarily a picture of a dog... . Wouldn't a Penguin be more useful educationally than a dog, which I should have to crib from a photo, for we have none to sit for us here? You shall have a picture of the dog on my return - I could almost promise that. Anyway - let me thank you heartily for your hearty support... . And I promise you shall have something to remind the boys of the share they are taking in the quest", and in a postscript pointing out that the promised guinea for his "instrument fund" was not enclosed, folds, slightly foxed.

The Terra Nova expedition set sail in June 1910, and in the following year Wilson led the sortie to a rookery of Emperor Penguins so vividly described by Apsley Cherry Garrard in The Worst Journey in the World. In November Wilson was one of the five who reached the South Pole only to discover that Amundsen had already been there. None of the five returned and the last three to survive, Scott, Bowers and Wilson perished together in their tent on the Great Ice Barrier on or about 29th March 1912.

Estimate: £1,500-2,000.

(21 March 2019)

RESULTS: The hammer price was £4,000.

(13 April 2019)


Thursday 7 March 2019. Cambridge.

Frank Debenham's ice pick was the single Antarctic lot in this sale and brought a big price: £22,000 (against an estimate of £400-600.

Here's what Bob Headland had to say about it in a recent e-mail:

An ice pick was sold at auction this afternoon by Cheffins in Cambridge. It had belonged to Professor Frank Debenham of Captain Scott's last expedition and founder director of SPRI. Deb had given it to a friend and it passed by descent to the estate from which it was consigned for sale (lot 232 today). It was made by Brades, a Scottish manufacturer of ice axes and similar items for many years (still in business as far as I know). The condition was sound, considering its age and the rough use that ice picks get.

The estimate was GBP 400-600, which I considered substantially below the price it might get at a London sale. I was amazed to learn that it sold for GBP 22,000. This astonished all involved (including Cheffins) - it is far more than comparable items have made in Christies, etc. I do not have information about the purchaser (but it was not SPRI).

As well as showing the quite unexpected strength of the market for polar items it suggests we should all try to find where we put our old ice picks and ice axes.

RESULTS: Sold for £22,000.
(9 March 2019)


Thursday 6 February 2019. Bonhams. London.

The concluding lots in this sale–192-205–are Polar and include some interesting items, indeed. First and foremost is Lot 195, a sledge used by Eric Marshall, the surgeon, cartographer and photographer on the Nimrod expedition. It was donated by Marshall around 1952 to his alma mater, Monkton Combe School in Bath where it's been on display. It's an 11-foot sledge made by L.H. Hagen, Oslo. It looks to be in superb condition. Estimate: £60,000-£100,000.

Also from Eric Marshall and Monkton Combe School, Marshall's Sledge Flag from the Nimrod expedition, Lot 196. It's particularly unusual in that it's square in design, like Shackleton's, rather than the traditional swallow tale design. Estimate: £30,000-£50,000.

(Warning: Think before you donate your stuff to your old school! Maybe the Newberry Library will do the same with Marshall's Aurora Australis. Or Tewkesbury School with Priestley's sledge!)

Lot 193 is a sporting medal awarded to Lt. Charles Royds during the Discovery expedition. I don't recall one of these appearing at auction before which might account for the high estimate of £10,000-£15,000.

—R. Stephenson
(12 January 2019)

Results: The two Marshall lots did very well indeed. The sledge slipped away for £143,750 (includes the buyers premium), far above the estimate. And the sledge flag flew away for £75,000. So for a bit more than £200,000 you could have the basic equipment for your very own Antarctic expedition. The Royds' sporting medal went for £20,000, also above the estimate.
(6 February 2019)


Thursday 10 January 2019. Tennants. Leyburn, North Yorkshire.
Full catalogue available closer to the sale date.

"An important private library of polar exploration, travel and local history books, including many rare and important volumes, is to be auctioned at Tennants Auctioneers in North Yorkshire on 10th January in a single-owner sale.

The library was put together over many years by the late Roger Casson, an architect from North East England, and is notable for the outstanding condition of much of the collection. The focus of the library is Polar Exploration in the 19th and early 20th century, which accounts for over 200 lots in the sale. Of particular note are a good collection of works recounting the ill-fated final expedition made by Sir John Franklin in 1845 to find the North-West Passage, and the numerous search missions that followed the disappearance of his ships and their crew.


One of the most valuable lots in the sale is a limited edition of The Heart of the Antarctic, Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 by Ernest H. Shackleton. Published by Heinemann in 1909, the two-volume set, which includes two panoramas and three folding maps, in one of only three hundred sets bound in vellum. Also included in the lot, which is offered with an estimate of £7,000-10,000 (plus buyer’s premium), is the accompanying The Antarctic Book, Winter Quarters, 1907-1909, which contains sixteen signatures of the Shore Party from the famous expedition.
Other highlights include a copy of the three-volume The South Polar Times, published by Smith, Elder between 1907-1914, of which a numbered limited edition of 250 were produced, and in this case includes two of the very rare dust wrappers (Estimate: £4,000-8,000 plus b.p.). Also of note is a copy of James Murray and George Marston’s Antarctic Days, Sketches of the homely side of Polar life by two of Shackleton’s Men (Andrew Melrose, 1913). The limited deluxe edition is signed by Murray, Marston and Shackleton, and is being offered with an estimate of £3,000-5,000 (plus b.p.).
The sale will also include numerous books on other travel, including early voyages, and exploration of the Middle East, the history of the North East and architecture.

By Siobhan Casson
Roger John Casson (born 18th September 1943) grew up in Heysham, Lancashire and Wolviston, Teesside and schooled at Barnard Castle, Co. Durham. He received his Associateship of the Royal Institute of British Architects from Northern Polytechnic in 1971. After moving back to the north east he worked for Darnton, Elgee, Wrightson, Jackman and O’Connor for 30 years, becoming a senior partner in 1992 and retiring in 2003.
Roger had a lifetime passion for books – he still owned books from his childhood. In the 1990s he began collecting in earnest, and especially after retirement. He also joined the Newcastle Bookbinding Group at the Lit and Phil and became a skilled bookbinder. Reflected here is the best of his personal library, representing a variety of interests, including his profession of architect, poetry, literature, local history and travel. Several of the books were rebound by him.
During his school years his father’s job took him to many countries, including Venezuela, Kenya and Spain. These early experiences instilled a love of travel in Roger, a passion which he shared with his wife Ann and many of his friends over the years. This passion transferred to his travel collection, the choice of author or location inspired by countries he had visited.
The local history collection stemmed from his love of the north east region and his research into family genealogy which has roots here.
The main collection on Polar Exploration represents an unfulfilled desire to visit Antarctica. His interest in early polar expeditions was piqued when researching the location, and the library grew from there.
Roger passed away on 10th April 2016. It has been very difficult for Ann, son Paul and daughter Siobhan to place the items in this collection up for auction because they represent so much of his life and his interests. Their wish is for the books to pass on to others who share these interests and who will continue to treasure and care for them."

There are many, many polar books in this sale, a bit more Arctic than Antarctic. If you're there in Lincolnshire with a roomy car, it will be a great opportunity to pick up a lot of books. The two ones to keep an eye on are Lot 145, a Frank Wild manuscript and signed photo, and Lot 168, Lashly's Diary which seldom appears at auction. The estimates for both seem low to me.

—R. Stephenson
(3 December 2018)

RESULTS: Many of the lots exceeded the estimates; very few remained unsold. The highest price in the sale was £14,000 for the 3-volume edition de luxe of Shackleton's Heart of the Antarctic. (These are hammer prices and do not include the 20% buyer's premium.) Second highest was lot Lot 17, the trade edition of Murray & Marston's Antarctic Days in a dustjacket, £8,000 against an estimate of £3,000-5,000. Lot 145, the Frank Wild ms, did very well at £7,500 (estimate £1,000-2,000) as did the Lashly diary (Lot 168) at £3,500 (estimate £1,000-2,000).
—R. Stephenson
(11 January 2019)

Eric Jarvis reported this to me:
"I did get to the Tennants auction and the preview as it was local for me. About 40 people in the room on the day but also plenty of commission and telephone bids and online bids through both ‘the saleroom’ and Tennants own site.
A few of the dealers I know were present in the room including Aquila and Meridian plus some of the mainstream London dealers. (but not Glacier, Kingsbridge or John Bonham - who has presumably now retired after selling his personal collection a year or so ago).
For the polar section of the sale (I didn’t stay for the general travel and local history) the good material made excellent money, sometimes well above estimate.
There was a clear premium for condition, original bindings, dw’s etc The rebound or less good copies generally made low to mid estimate. Not much went under estimate and only a few items didn’t sell.
I should think that Tennants and the vendors would have been very satisfied with a strong sale and results.
I only got 2 lots, a 2 vol Nares and a bulk lot of x 84 mixed polar titles (probably because it was only viable for somebody local) which had a enough reasonable content to justify it. I underbid on quite a few lots but with the 20% commission I wasn’t in a position to go above top estimate so I generally got left behind on the better material.
It was, I think, a good indicator of the current market and I was pleased to see that a fair few of the things that I’ve picked up in the last year or two would have done very well."
Thanks, Eric
(11 January 2019)


Thursday 3 January 2019. Grantham, Lincolnshire, UK.
Web: I missed this one until the day before when Greg Glade sent me an e-mail. The first six lots are the ones of interest, all Shackleton related. I bid on Lot 1, a menu printed at Cape Royds, which would have been a fine complement to my Aurora Australis. But I bid too low. It went for £6,400 including the buyer's premium. Here are the descriptions (no estimates were included in the catalogue):

Lot 1. The British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 led by Ernest Shackleton - June 23rd 1908. The Midwinter Celebration Programme from Winter Quarters, Cape Royds. Antarctica. LAT. 77° .. 32 S. LONG. 166° .. 12 E. Printed upon The Albion Press by Wild & Joyce 1908, comprising 3 leaves with etched plate after George Marston (recto blank) printed menu headed by woodcut vignette. Hole punched and tied with green cord, in original pink card wrappers. Printed Letterpress title page with Tennyson quotation and twin penguin printers device. 26 x 19cm.
The 1907 - 1909 Antarctic Expedition. NIMROD Property of WILLIAM CHARLES ROBERTS born 1872 Feltham, London. Travelled to New Zealand upon the SS Runic with 7 shore party members, Roberts was the cook for the expedition but also was acknowledged in his work on the Zoological studies whilst part of the shore party.
Edgeworth David, the leader of the South Magnetic Pole Party named 'Cape Roberts' upon Antarctica after William Charles Roberts during the expedition. RESULT: £6400 including buyer's premium.

Lot 2. The British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 led by Ernest Shackleton - October 27th 1907. The Original Contract of Service Agreement between Commander Ernest Henry Shackleton and William Charles Roberts. Outlining the details of the expedition to the Antarctic Zone, the expectations and privacy order of the expedition. Signed by William Charles Roberts of Auckland House, Feltham and Ernest Shackleton, with unknown company secretary - Both of 9 Regent St, London wherein Expedition Headquarters was based. RESULT: £2200 including buyer's premium.

Lot 3: The British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 led by Ernest Shackleton - December 13th 1909. A Signed Menu Card, for The Luncheon Given to Sir Ernest Shackleton CVO by the Members of The British Antarctic Expedition (1907-1909) In Celebration of the Well Deserved Honour Conferred upon Him by His Majesty The King. Signed by; George Marston; Artist - Shore Party., Bertram Armitage; General Aide, in charge of Ponies - Shore party., William C Roberts; Cook - Shore Party., John K Davis; First Officer - Nimrod., Frank Wild; Provisions manager - Shore Party., Ernest Shackleton; Commander - Shore Party., Ernest Joyce; Stores manager - Shore Party., Bernard Day; Electrician, Motor Mechanic - Shore Party. Printed with Letterpress titled header above image of Winter Quarters at Cape Royds, Antarctica. With verse from Julius Caesar. 11cm x 18cm. RESULT: £1600 including buyer's premium.

Lot 4: The British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 led by Ernest Shackleton October 1907. A poem upon White Star Line headed paper, depicting the SS Runic Australian Service via Cape Town, with poetry relating to the expedition, having intimate details regarding the expedition members upon the Runic, including Marshall, Adams, Joyce, Wild, Day, Marston, Priestley, and Roberts, 13cm x 20cm. RESULT: £950 including buyer's premium.

Lot 5: The British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 lead by Ernest Shackleton December 30th 1907. A British Antarctic Expedition 1907 menu at the Canterbury Club Christchurch, comprising a pressed foliate decorated card menu with rear image depicting two sledges and the shore party upon Antarctica, with a menu card for a complimentary dinner given to Lieutenant Shackleton and the scientists and officers of the Antarctic Expedition of 1907, at The Freemans Room, Christchurch, New Zealand, printed by Willis & Aitken Ltd, featuring an Antarctic Expedition S.Y. Nimrod 1907 device, having a sunrise and penguin cipher. With a photograph depicting five members of the shore party of the Nimrod during the expedition, probably in New Zealand, comprising William Charles Robert; Cook; Raymond E Priestley, Geologist; Bernard Day, electrician/mechanic; George Marston, artist; and Frank Wild, provisions, the detailed menus are from dinners given for the member of the Nimrod Expedition by The Canterbury Establishment, during the first dinner Ernest Shackleton was awarded a copper salver, which had been made from the bolts of Nelson's ship Victory. Bishop Julius gave his blessing at the event, and it was attended by local dignitaries. The second menu was hosted by a private dinner given by Joseph Kinsey, previously Scott (Scott of Antarctica), New Zealand Agent. Two nights previous to them setting sail for Antarctica from New Zealand. RESULT: £2500 including buyer's premium.

Lot 6: The British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 led by Ernest Shackleton Tuesday August 3rd 1909. A menu for a dinner and presentation to Mr Charles Roberts of Feltham, London, by his fellows Townsmen and friends, at The Railway Hotel, Feltham, Tuesday August 3rd 1909. In honour of his participation in the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909, under the command of Lieutenant Ernest H Shackleton C.V.O. under the Chairman of Horace Garland Esq., JP, and Vice Chairman of Mr H. Fear, and Mr A W Musk, 12cm x 18cm. RESULT: £800 including buyer's premium.

(3 January 2019)


Thursday 12 December 2018. Christie's. London.

Lot 61
GRAN, Tryggve (1888-1980). Two autograph manuscript sledging journals of the 1910-1913 British Antarctic Expedition, comprising:

"Autograph manuscript journal, ‘Vestover’ [Westwards], 7 November 1911 – 25 February 1912, covering the departure of the Second Geological Expedition from Cape Evans in November 1911 and journey to Granite Harbour, the building of the hut at Geology Point and surveying the Mackay Glacier, the first sighting of Terra Nova and the frustrated attempts to collect the party that followed, and the eventual re-boarding of the ship and return to Cape Evans in February 1912. In Norwegian, 78 pages, 228 x 177mm, written in pencil and occasionally pen, the entries in a Waterlow & Sons Limited blank notebook. Original black leather binding. [With, tipped in:] 1-1/2 pages of Gran’s autograph notes on daily miles travelled, on a bifolium, British Antarctic Expedition Terra Nova stationery.


Autograph manuscript journal, ‘Southern Journey 1912-13’, 29 October 1912 – 17 February 1913, covering the departure from Cape Evans in search of Scott’s party, the arrival at One Ton Depot and the subsequent discovery of the tent with the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers on 12 November 1912, Gran’s reading of Scott’s last diary entries and the fruitless search for Oates, the return to Hut Point and joyful discovery of the survival of Campbell’s party, the ascent of Erebus and final days at Cape Evans, before the return to Lyttelton in February 1913. In English, c.144 pages, with a further 8 pages of meteorological notes and a sketch, 155 x 100mm, written in pencil, the entries in a Waterlow & Sons Navigating Officer’s Note Book. Original cloth binding, Gran’s ownership inscription on cover in red ink.

Provenance: by direct descent from Tryggve Gran.

Two extraordinary sledging journals of Tryggve Gran, diverging often from his published memoirs and offering additional material, covering Gran’s astonishingly prescient dream on the night of 14 December 1911 of Amundsen’s triumph, and the search for Scott’s party and tragic discovery of the tent. A supremely important piece of Polar history.

‘I dreamt I got a telegram: Amundsen reached Pole 15th December’ (15 December 1911)

‘It has happened – we have found what we sought – horrible, ugly fate – Only 11 miles from One Ton Depot – The Owner, Wilson & Birdie. All gastsly. I will never forget it so long I live – a horrible nightmare could not have shown more horror than this “Campo Santo”. In a tent – snowcovered til up above the door we found the three boddies. The Owner in the middle, half out of his bagg. Birdie on his right and Uncle Bill on left laying headway to the door. The frost had made the skin yellow & transparent & I’ve never seen anything worse in my life. The Owner seems to have struggled hard in the moment of death, while the two others seem to have gone off in a kind of sleep’

‘The Owner writes in his diary: There is no more hope and so God look after our people…’ (12 November 1912)

‘We have built a carn – a 12 foot carn and put a cross made of a pair of skis on it’ (13 November 1912)

‘We found last night the Polparties theodolite, camera etc – also Oates’ sleeping bag’ (14 November 1912)

‘I am using the Owner’s ski – they must finish the journey – and they will’ (17 November 1912)

The young Norwegian Tryggve Gran was recruited by Scott as a skiing expert for the Terra Nova expedition on the recommendation of the explorer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen: he would go on to play a valuable role in the second geological expedition (November 1911-February 1912), which collected data in the Granite Harbour region before becoming stranded by the ice, necessitating a trek southwards to their rescue. Later that year, on 29 October 1912, Gran was part of the 11-man search team that set off from Cape Evans in search of the polar party; they found the tent containing the frozen bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers on 12 November. After they retrieved their personal effects and records, Gran used his own pair of skis to fashion a cross, raised above the snow cairn built to cover the bodies of the ill-fated polar party, before returning to camp on Scott’s skis, reasoning that at least his expedition leader’s skis would finish their journey. In December 1912, before leaving Antarctica, Gran he made an ascent of Mount Erebus with Raymond Priestley and Frederick Hooper, and was lucky to escape with his life after an unexpected eruption set off an avalanche of the surrounding pumice stone. Gran won the Polar Medal for his endeavours in Antarctica."

The estimate: £120,000-180,000. (USD 153,960-230,940)
RESULTS: £150,000 including the buyer's premium.

(3 December 2018)


Tuesday 20 November 2018. London.

Lot 4. Grant, Fleet Street, London. A fine and historically interesting 18k gold key wind open face chronometer pocket watch used and owned by the explorer James Weddell. London hallmark for 1811
Estimate: £ 15,000 - 20,000; US$ 19,000 - 26,000

"James Weddell (1787-1834) was introduced to life at sea from an early age when he first became apprenticed aboard a coastal vessel. After spending time forging a successful career both on merchant ships and in the Navy he was appointed to command the brig Jane in 1819.
One of Weddells most enduring legacies was his voyage into what is now known as the Weddell Sea where on the 20th February 1923 he successfully travelled more than three degrees of latitude further south than any ship had before. This equated to 214 nautical miles farther than the renowned Cook. A celebration amongst the men on board the Jane ensued with three cheers, a salute and the hoisting of colours to commemorate this momentous occasion and would certainly have been encouraged with an extra ration of grog.
Weddell was particularly interested in scientific methods and although limited in his supply made good use of his nautical instruments, charting coasts and anchorages around the world. From the extensive records he kept it is known that he had three reliable chronometers - numbered 403, 820 and the current example of 3540. All three of these are recorded as deriving from James Murray of Murray and Strachan with the current example branded under the name of John Grant. His attention to detail is visible by observing the records he kept of Longitude noted on pages 239-276 of the accompanying text A Voyage Towards the South Pole. In fact throughout his report on that extraordinary trip the reference to chronometers show just how heavily Weddell and his crew relied on their accuracy.
The provenance of the watch is further confirmed in Chronometer Makers of the World by Tony Mercer where on page 152 it states under John Grant (1796-1868) 'pocket 3540 (pocket with pivoted detent owned by Capt. James Weddell, the Antarctic explorer)'."

RESULTS: Sold for £18,750.

(18 November 2018)


Wednesday 31 October 2018, 10am. 1338 West Lake Street, Chicago, IL 60607

Sale 624.
This important sale has 23 Antarctic lots, the highlights being copies of the South Polar Times and the Aurora Australis. There are also numerous Arctic lots.
For comparison purposes hammer prices or highest bids included for some lots from the recent (September 25) Fitzsimmons sale at Bonhams in New York City. See entry below.
The results include the 25% buyer's premium.

RESULTS: This sale did better than Bonham's Fitzsimmons sale the month before (see below) as far as lots sold but some of the prices realized were lower. Only 3 of the Antarctic lots didn't sell. By far the priciest lot of the sale was the Aurora which fetched, with the buyer's premium, $87,500 (versus $97,500 for the Fitzsimmons copy). The 3-volume South Polar Times brought $8,750 versus $20,000 for the Fitzsimmons copy. Although perhaps not the best copy ever, Scott's Last Expedition only fetched $138!
—R. Stephenson

Lot 44 Cherry-Garrard, Apsley. The Worst Journey in the World (London, 1922) 2 volumes. First Edition. Estimate: $800-1,200. (The Fitzsimmons copy didn't sell at $1,900.) RESULTS: $1,625

Lot 48 Cook, Capt. James. Collected voyages (London: 1773, 1777, 1784) 8 volumes. Mostly first editions. Estimate: $20,000-30,000. (The Fitzsimmons set—9 volumes which includes the Atlas—sold for $20,000.) RESULTS: $6,875

Lot 60 Doorly, Gerald. The Voyages of the 'Morning' (New York, 1916). Estimate: $600-800. (The Fitzsimmons copy didn't sell at $850. Included the Songs of the Morning too.) RESULTS: $1,188

Lot 64 Dumont D'Urville, J.S.C. Voyages au Pole Sud… (Paris: Gide) First 10 volumes of the first edition. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. RESULTS: $1,500

Lot 67 Fanning, Edmund. Voyages Round the World… (New York, 1833) First Edition. Estimate: $800-1,200. (The Fitzsimmons copy didn't sell at $950.) RESULTS: $688

Lot 74 Forster, Johan. A Voyage Round the World… (London, 1777) 2 volumes. First Edition. Estimate: $2,500-3,500. RESULTS: $2,500

Lot 75 Forster, John. Observations made during a Voyage Round the World… (London, 1778) First Edition. Estimate: $2,500-3,500. RESULTS: Did not sell

Lot 131 McCormick, Robert. Voyages of Discovery in the Arctic and Antarctic Seas… ( London, 1884) 2 volumes. First Edition. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. (The Fitzsimmons copy sold at $1,200.) RESULTS: Did not sell

Lot 136 Mountevans, E. South With Scott (London, 1921) First Edition. Estimate: $500-700. RESULTS: $1,000

Lot 139 Mulock, George. The Charts of the Discovery Antarctic Expedition (London, 1908) First Edition. Estimate: $3,000-4,000. RESULTS: $2,500

Lot 140 Murray, George. The Antarctic Manual… (London, 1901) First Edition. Estimate: $3,000-4,000. (The Fitzsimmons copy didn't sell at $850.) RESULTS: Did not sell

Lot 141 Murray & Marston. Antarctic Days. Sketches of the homely side of Polar life… (London, 1913) Limited Edition De Luxe. Estimate: $3,000-4,000. (The Fitzsimmons copy sold at $4,000.) RESULTS: $6,250

Lot 156 Ponting, Herbert. The Terra Nova at the Ice-foot, Cape Evans. Large Format Silver Print. (London: Fine Art Society, 1911). Estimate: $5,000-7,000. RESULTS: $5,500

Lot 176 Scott, Capt R. The Voyage of the "Discovery" (London, 1905) 2 volumes. First Edition. Presentation copy. Estimate: $6,000-8,000. (The Fitzsimmons copy—no inscription—didn't sell at $480.) RESULTS: Did not sell

Lot 177 Scott, Capt R. National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904. Scientific Reports (London: 1907-1913) 12 volumes. First Edition. Estimate: $2,000-3,000. RESULTS: $1,500

Lot 178 Scott, Capt R. The Forthcoming Antarctic Expedition (London, 1910) First Edition of a rare offprint. Estimate: $1,000-2,000. RESULTS: $5,500

Lot 179 Scott, Capt R. Scott's Last Expedition (London, 1913) 2 volumes. First Edition. Estimate: $200-300. RESULTS: $138

Lot 181 Shackleton, Bernacchi & Cherry-Garrard, editors. The South Polar Times (London: 1907-1914) 3 volumes. Limited Editions. Estimate: $10,000-15,000. (The Fitzsimmons copy sold at $20,000. Vol. IV included.) RESULTS: $8,750

Lot 182 Shackleton, Ernest, ed. Aurora Australis (Winter Quarters: 1908) First Edition. Signed by Shackleton. Estimate: $60,000-80,000. (The Fitzsimmons copy sold at $78,000, $97,500 with the buyer's premium. This copy had no signatures or inscriptions.) RESULTS: $87,500

SHACKLETON, Ernest Henry, Sir (1874-1922). Aurora Australis. Printed at the Winter Quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907, During the Winter Months of April, May, June, July, 1908. Illustrated with Lithographs and Etchings; by George Marston. Antarctica: Printed at the Sign of the 'Penguins'; by Joyce and Wild. Latitude 77 deg. 32' South Longitude 166 deg. 12' East, 1908.

4to (260 x 186 mm). 94 printed leaves including the colored title-page, 10 plates, 13 blanks. (A few tiny holes to first blank, some offsetting to blanks from binding leather). Bound by Bernard Day in original Venesta boards taken from expedition packing crates (upper cover stamped: "[A]NTARCTIC [EXPEDITI]ON 1907."; lower cover stamped: "[PAT]ES?), rebacked to match with leather, title and penguin motif stamped in blind on spine, green silk binding cord, edges uncut (skillfully rebacked to style, original horse-harness spine preserved separately with some old wear).


According to Murray and Marston's Antarctic Days (see lot 141), at most 100 copies were produces; according to Rosove, "approximately sixty-five copies have been accounted for to date." That such a beautifully-produced book could be printed and bound in such extreme conditions by amateur book-makers is extraordinary. Murray and Marston recall: "It is too cold to keep the printer's ink fluid; it gets sticky and freezes. To cope with this a candle was set burning underneath the plate on which the ink was. This was all right, but it made the ink too fluid, and the temperature had to be regulated by moving the candle about."

Two variants are known. The rarest, as here, includes 10 plates and a leaf of text in the "An Ancient Manuscript" chapter by Frank Wild, which was subsequently excised and replaced with an eleventh plate entitled "Many shekels were needed for the ship to go forth" in copies printed later. The offending text describes five wealthy men who refused to contribute to the Expedition fund. According to Charles Boyle, "of the 56 copies Millard managed to locate two have variations...where an illustration is replaced by additional text" ("Aurora Australis," The Book Collector, p. 494, Vol. 67, No. 3, Autumn 2018). Martin L. Greene posits that Ross demanded that the offensive passage be deleted and replaced with the plate (see "Aurora Australis (1908)... A New Description of the First State of the First Book Published on the Antarctic Continent", in Book Talk: Essays on Books, Oak Knoll Press, 2006, pp.69-79). The Antarctic Circle census of copies of Aurora Australis describes the Streeter copy (now at the British Library), which bears the same signature of Shackleton as this copy; "Ernest Shackleton Editor." Their note about the signature quotes John Millard: "You will also note the single signature of Ernest Shackleton…There is also the possibility that it might be one of those 10 copies that Shackleton reportedly sold to Bumpus, the Bookseller in London." COPIES OF GREENE'S FIRST VARIANT ARE SCARCE AT AUCTION: according to American Book Prices Current, only one copy of the first variant has sold at auction in the last 40 years. Conrad p.146 ("A few more than 60... copies are extant"); Rosove 304.A1c; Renard 1436; Spence 1095; Streeter VII:4146 (also with 10 plates and signed "Ernest Shackleton Editor").

Note: For more information on the Aurora go to elsewhere on this website.

Lot 183 Shackleton, Ernest. The Heart of the Antarctic (London: 1909) 3 volumes. Edition De Luxe with the Antarctic Book Signed by members of the shore party, along with an autograph letter signed by Shackleton. Estimate: $20,000-30,000. RESULTS: $27,500

Lot 187 Sparrman, Anders. A Voyage to the Cape of Good Hope, towards the Antarctic Circle… (London: 1785) 2 volumes. First Edition in English. Estimate: $1,500-2,500. (The Fitzsimmons copy didn't sell at $1,700.) RESULTS: $1,250

Lot 209 Wild, Frank. Shackleton's Last Voyage. The Story of the 'Quest.' (London: 1923). First Edition. With a laid-in sheet with the signatures of 12 members of the expedition. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. (The Fitzsimmons copy didn't sell at $550.) RESULTS: $6,875

Lot 211 Wilkes, Charles. Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition (Philadelphia, 1845) 6 volumes. First Octavo Edition. Estimate: $2,000-3,000. (The Fitzsimmons copy didn't sell at $3,200.) RESULTS: $1,500

(12 October 2018)


Tuesday 25 September 2018. New York

This sale will have a featured section to include the Antarctic collection of Joe Fitzsimmons. Joe, of Ann Arbor, Michigan and known to many collectors, has an extensive south polar library including a copy of the Aurora Australis. The online and printed catalogue should be available in August.

(1 March 2018)

Catalogue of the sale.

Prices Realized.

The talk I gave at Bonham's the night before the sale.

The images that accompanied the talk.

A report on the sale.

Click here for some photos I took.

Here are some comments I received from colleagues:

"And it's a sad day when a 1st ed. of Cherry-Garrard fails to sell."

"Fitzsimmons is selling now, not buying. Probably many other notable collectors are thinking along the same lines. This creates negative pressure along both the supply/demand scales. I am 66. I think that many people in the 40-65 age range, if they are interested in buying exploration/adventure items, might be turning to the early NASA astronaut material that appeals to their youth. The polar constituency is aging out."

"Imagine, only 23 of his 80 lots selling ... Bonhams did a poor job of lot description ... There was still substantial interest in the best material, but the mediocre material probably negatively influenced the sale overall by damping enthusiasm. While we all realize the market has been slow with little remarkable material available, I don't think interest in Antarctica is over, although we do need new blood in the business, both enthusiastic collectors and enthusiastic booksellers. I hope the younger generation can be persuaded that books really are wonderful. After all, there is nothing humankind has ever thought or done that has not been discussed or represented in print."


Thursday 12 April 2018. 104 East 25th Street, New York.

I missed this sale because of extensive travels. There were two Antarctic lots:

33. Archive of Lieutenant Paul R. Streich's experience as a naval aviator on Operation Deepfreeze. 206 items in one box. Estimate $2,000-3,000.
RESULTS: $3,510 including premium.

34. Archive of photographs, letters and telegrams relating to Byrd's second Antarctica expeditio. 89 items in one box. Estimate $2,000-3,000.
RESULTS: $3,000 including premium.

(29 April 2018)


Thursday 22 March 2018. 104 East 25th Street, New York.

There are a couple of polar lots in this sale:
Lot 49. A menu for a Banquet given in honor of Captain Roald Amundsen and the crew of the Gjøa, September 3, 1906, in Nome, Alaska. Signed by Amundsen and Hansen, the first officer. Estimate: $600-900.
RESULTS: $1,620 including premium.

Lot 50. A typed letter signed "R E Byrd" to John Hays Hammond. Estimate: $80-120.
RESULTS: $50 including premium.

Lot 52. Signatures on one sheet of E. H. Shackleton and Roald Amundsen. Estimate: $500-750.
RESULTS: $1,000 including premium.

(15 March 2018)


Thursday 22 March 2018. 1233 Sutter Street, San Francisco.

There are several Antarctic lots in this sale. Nothing very special but a beginning collector might pick up a bargain.

See Lots 251, 298, 308, 314, 315, 318 and 344.

(2 March 2018)


Wednesday 21 March 2018. The Auction Centre, Marconi Road, Burgh Road Industrial Estate, Carlisle, Cumbria, UK CA2 7NA

Lot 149
Sir Clements Robert Markham. Memorials of David Markham 'A handwritten biography (and Markham family history) of David Frederick Markham (1800-1853) by his son Clements Robert Markham, the explorer, geographer & author who was secretary of the Royal Geographical Society & responsible for organising Scott's Antarctic Expedition. 6 vols. Quarto. Some 600/700 manuscript text pages (readily readable), circa 165 pasted in photographs together with prints, pedigrees & family trees. Defective bdgs. with gilt crest to upper brds. The volumes have been broken for removal of watercolour plates, consequently some 40 text pages are lacking, however there is a wealth of personal & family history & ancestry relative to the Markhams as far back as the 11th century. A unique research resource. The lot also includes 9 orig. letters addressed to David, his nephew William Wickham & to Sir Clements Markham, together with a transcription of an epitaph. David Markham was a Canon to the Royal Family including the young Queen Victoria. He was a writer, illustrator & extensive traveller. His son, the writer of this work, Clements Markham had a remarkable career. He sailed to the Arctic as a Midshipman in the search for Franklin's expedition; he was secretary of the Royal Geographical Society & latterly its president; he was heavily involved with the career of Captain Robert Falcon Scott (Mount Markham in Antarctica is named for him) & he was an explorer & a prolific author.'

Estimate £1,500-2,500
RESULTS: £1,600 closing bid..

—Thanks to Seamus Taaffe. (1 March 2018)


Tuesday 6 March 2018. 15 North Street, Lewes, East Sussex UK

Lot 788
Walter Ernest How (1885-1972), a signed watercolour drawing on card of Shackleton's 'Endurance', inscribed on the verso in the artist's hand, 'Sir Ernest Shackleton's/The 'Endurance' frozen in the 'Weddel [sic] Sea', 1915' and additionally inscribed in another hand, 'Painted by Walter E. How/Able Seaman/Endurance/Imperial Antarctic Expedition 1914-16' titled and signed 'W. How' l.r.
8 x 11in (20 x 28cm approx), unframed.

Estimate £400-600
RESULTS: £3,200

—Thanks to David Hood. (1 March 2018)


Tuesday 7 February 2018. 1pm. London, Knightsbridge

This sale has 11 Ponting photographs, several of which are seldom seen. Among the other lots that caught my attention:

Lot 126. The Brig Jane and Cutter Beaufoy in the James Weddell Antarctic Expedition 1823. Framed oil painting attributed to William John Huggins, estimated at £15,000-20,000. A large, handsome painting, the star of the polar lots. 24 x 36 inches. "The source of this image is a sketch by James Weddell (see fig. 1) which is engraved as a plate in his book 'A Voyage Towards the South Pole: Performed in the Years 1822-24', published 1825. This painting is thought to be the lost original upon which the aquatint by Edward Duncan (see fig. 2) is copied, as there is no record of any other works by Huggins depicting this subject."
RESULTS: £18,750 including the premium.

Lot 128. An unframed oil painting of penguins by George Edward Marston, estimated at £1,500-2,000. Signed and dated (1908). 10-1/4 x 14-1/4 inches.
RESULTS: £5,625 including the premium.

Lot 136. A pair of lambskin inner mittens belonging to Apsley Cherry-Garrard, estimated at £1,500-2,000. "Provenance: Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1886-1959); by descent; Christie's, Exploration and Travel Sale, 17 September 1999, lot 254." (At that sale it fetched £2,185 including the buyer's premium.) (This appeals to me because I'm an admirer of Cherry and his book and I have his sledge harness hanging in my library.)
RESULTS: £7,500 including the premium.

Lot 148. A film poster for the film 'La Morte de Shackleton,' estimated at £800-900. The Quest is depicted in ice. Antwerp: F. De Smet, 1924. "Scarce film poster for the first screening in Belgium (at the Cinema Zoologie, Antwerp, 22-23 June 1924) of a film about the death of E.H. Shackleton during the Shackleton-Rowlett expedition on the 'Quest'."
RESULTS: £5,625 including the premium.

(13 January 2018)
(1 March 2018)


Wednesday 17 January 2018. 2pm. New York

Lot 173

Wilkes, Charles
Text: half-titles, portrait. ILLUSTRATION: 64 plates, 9 maps, numerous vignettes—Atlas: letterpress title and contents page otherwise engraved throughout. ILLUSTRATION: 5 folding maps backed onto linen, 1 hand-colored. 6 volumes (text: 5 vols.; atlas: 1 vol.), 4to (12 1/2 x 9 5/8 in.; 316 x 244 mm). BINDING: Expertly bound to style in black straight-grained morocco gilt, covers with double-fillet gilt borders.

Occasional stray spots, generally not affecting images.

FIRST "UNOFFICIAL" QUARTO EDITION OF THE NARRATIVE OF THE FIRST AMERICAN NAVAL EXPLORING EXPEDITION: ONE OF ONLY 150 COPIES PRINTED (only 100 of which were for sale), here with a very rare variant of the atlas volume with a London imprint.

The importance of the Wilkes Expedition, the first United States scientific expedition by sea, cannot be overstated. Wilkes' six ships ranged from Tierra del Fuego, Chile, and Peru, to Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Singapore. "The chief fields of exploration in this expedition were the coast of the Antarctic continent, the islands of the Pacific Ocean, and the American northwest coast. In total, some 280 islands of the Pacific and adjacent waters and 800 miles of streams and coasts in the Oregon country were surveyed and 1600 miles of the coast of Antarctica were charted" (Hill). Perhaps the expedition's most notable achievements were the extensive survey of the American northwest coast and the exploration of the Antarctic coast, which finally proved "the existence of the seventh continent. Equally important, the Expedition collected and described natural history specimens from all parts of the globe—specimens that eventually came to the fledgling Smithsonian Institution, making it the National Museum of the United States. In a wider sense, the Expedition led to the emergence of the United States as a naval and scientific power with worldwide interests" (Magnificent Voyagers, p.9).

The publication of Wilkes's narrative is complex, though well described by Haskell in his bibliography of the expedition's publications. The first issue of the first edition (Haskell 1), called by Haskell the "official edition," was published in November or December 1844, appeared in quarto format, with the title bearing the imprint of the printer Sherman, and dated 1844. Only 100 copies of this issue were authorized and ordered by Congress, of which 25 were destroyed in a fire. This original "official" issue was almost exclusively used for presentation to states and foreign governments and is virtually never seen on the market: "virtually all copies are in institutional libraries" (Rosove).

In January 1845, Wilkes, who had retained the copyright for his narrative ("to protect my reputation, being unwilling that a garbled edition should be printed by others") had published the first "unofficial" edition (Haskell 2A). This quarto edition is identical in every respect to the first official edition, with the exception of a change in wording to the half-title (i.e. without "By authority of Congress") and with the title bearing the date 1845 and with Lea and Blanchard's imprint on the title recto with Sherman's imprint moved to the verso. Only 150 copies of this issue were printed, which according to Wilkes was "for the purpose of presentation to my friends and for sale to those who should desire a book of that size." Wilkes would retain for presentation twenty-five copies of this issue, while a further twenty-five sets were used to replace copies of the "official" issue destroyed by fire; the remaining 100 were available for sale [present set].

In the same year as the first "unofficial" issue, an edition of 1000 copies was published for wider, more public distribution (Haskell 2B). This issue appeared in large octavo format and with the text completely reset in smaller type, with some textual changes. It is this edition of the narrative which is generally encountered in today's marketplace.

Estimate: $18,000-22,000

Source: From the website.

RESULTS: Did not sell

(13 January 2018)
(1 March 2018)


Thursday 7 December 2017. 10am. 20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York.

"Reading, traveling and collecting books—great hobbies that have flled empty hours and enriched my life. What a privilege it was in 1998 to go with legendary book dealer Bill Reese to the Beinecke Library at Yale to collate four copies of the Sarychev 1802 texts and plate books, two belonging to the library and two of ours. I could not understand why the Library of Congress listed 56 plates, which, if true, meant that all the copies we had were defective. This question sent me on trips to the Library of Congress and to many libraries in the USA and Russia to look at 15 other known copies of this rare work. Sure enough, the Library of Congress copy was the "defective" one, with six plates from another book added to the 50 plates from the Sarychev.

My parents' families came to the United States from Russia in the 1890s, settling in Nebraska and Minnesota. By age 16 I had visited all 48 of the United States, later adding Alaska and Hawaii to the list (admitted as states in 1959). After moving to Seattle in 1969, I visited Alaska many times, climbing mountains and collecting more books. Visits to Sitka, former home of the Russian-American Company, to Fairbanks to see the wonderful collections at the University of Alaska Rasmuson Library, and climbing Mount McKinley (Denali) and other mountains were highlights of my life.

In London, in June of 1999, I waited in the queue for the opening of the Olympia Book Fair and went immediately to Reg and Philip Remington's booth. Philip asked if I would be interested in a Kruzenshtern atlas that had come into their shop the day before. The answer, of course, was a very defnite "yes," and I sat down and spent the next two hours with this incredible set. In time, other dealers wandered by, and soon the whole room became a-twitter that there was a Kruzenshtern atlas at the fair. But I did not let it out of my hands until I confrmed with Philip that I would indeed purchase it. What a find! No other copy of this work has been on the market, to my knowledge, since that memorable day.

An enjoyable aspect of collecting for me was that I could make my own rules. I decided to collect books on Greenland, but not on Iceland. With our Russian background, and with two children and a granddaughter who spoke Russian to assist me, I set a goal to acquire the 161 titles in Valerian Lada- Mocarski's Bibliography of Books on Alaska published before 1868 (New Haven and London: 1969).

Lada-Mocarski included books which he considered most important in telling the story of the exploration and settlement of Russian-America before the U.S. purchase of Alaska in 1867. His own collection was sold in 1971 by San Francisco book dealer Warren Howell to Elmer Rasmuson of Alaska. I believe the present sale includes the most extensive privately held collection of Lada-Mocarski titles (140 lots representing 99 of the 161 Lada-Mocarski entries) since that author's own collection was described and sold nearly 50 years ago.

The search for these rarities has been exciting, educational, and a lot of fun. I thank my book dealer friends and the sellers and underbidders at auctions for helping me along this road. The story of the 1844 Sherman edition of Wilkes's Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition during the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842 (lot 295) is fascinating. Apparently, a book scout found this set in a pile of books scheduled for deaccession by the State Library of Iowa in Des Moines. He called Greg Gibson in Massachusetts, who then called me. The bindings needed work but apparently the books had never been opened by the good people of Iowa. All the tissue guards were present and the pages had virtually no wear or foxing. Only one other set, the one belonging to Wilkes himself, has ever come on the auction market. The remaining 71 copies (after an early fire destroyed 27 of the original 100 printed) were given to States or foreign governments, and are very diffcult for collectors to obtain. I was very lucky indeed.

For this auction, we selected titles that I would like to be in the hands of other collectors. They tell the stories of some great explorations—of Alaska, important Pacifc Voyages to America, the Northwest and Northeast Passages, the search for Sir John Franklin's lost expedition, and of Arctic and Antarctic explorations. I smile when I look at these books, and I will smile when I think of others enjoying them in their collections.
From the catalogue

The Antarctic lots are numbers 295-301, 327, 339, 342, 343, 346, 351, 355, 400-405.

(12 November 2017)

RESULTS: I put in a couple of phone bids (and was successful with both) and asked how many were in the room. I was told somewhere around 25, including the consignor. The higher-end lots did pretty well; the lower-end ones, not so good. But Marty must have been pleased with the total results: $2,980,312, including the premium.
The highest Antarctic lot—295, the special edition of Wilkes—went for $75,000 including the premium. The South Polar Times didn't sell.

(12 December 2017)


Tuesday 14 November 2017. 11am. 34-35 New Bond Street, London.

I'm not sure how I missed this sale but I did. After the fact, Tom Kuczynski told me about it.

There were 49 polar lots (189-238), virtually all Antarctic. Here are some of the highlights with the prices realized—including the buyer's premium— in bold, in brackets:

Lot 191. Richardson, John and John Edward Gray. The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus & Terror, Under the Command of Captain Sir James Ross… During the Years 1839-1843. London: E. W. Janson, 1844-1875. 7 parts in 2 volumes. Est: £25,000-35,000. [£43,750] From a collector's perspective, the most desirable and rarest of the polar lots offered.

Lot 221. Lashly, William. The Diary of W. Lashly. A Record of the Return Journey of The Last Supporting Party with Capt. Scott to the South Pole. Reading: University of Reading, 1938-39. Est: £3,000-4,000. [£5,250]

Lot 228. Ritscher, Alfred. Deutsche Antarktische Expedition 1938/38 mit dem Flugzeugstützpunkt der Deutschen Lufthansa A.G.M.S. "Schwabenland", Kapitän A. Kottas. Ausgeführt unter der Leitung von Kapitän A. Ritscher. Leipzig: Koehler & Amelang, [1945]. Est: £1,200-1,800. [Did Not Sell]

Lot 230. Shackleton, Ernest. The Heart of the Antarctic. Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 [And The Antarctic Book]. London: William Heinemann, 1909. FIRST EDITION, Number 57 of a Limited Edition of 300 Copies, The Antarctic Book signed by 15 Members of the Shore Party and Macintosh, with the second corrected state of The Antarctic Book, 3 volumes. Est: £10,000-15,000. [£13,750]

Lot 235. Shackleton, Ernest. The South Polar Times. London: Smith, Elder, & Co, 1907-1914; Cambridge: Scott Polar Research Institute in association with Bonham, 2010 Est: £15,000-25,000. [£17,500]

Lot 236. Weddell, James. A Voyage Towards the South Pole… Containing an Examination of the Antarctic Sea. London: Longman, Hurst [&c.], 1825 FIRST EDITION. Est: £2,000-3,000. [£3,500]

Lot 237. Weddell, James. A Voyage Towards the South Pole… Second Edition, with Observations on the Probability of Reaching the South Pole, and an Account of a Second Voyage Performed in the Beaufoy, Captain Brisbane, to the same Seas. London: Longman, Hurst [&c.], 1827. Est: £1,200-1,800. [£5,625] The second edition, with added material, is generally the more desirable.

(18 November 2017)


Wednesday 3 May 2017. 1pm. 3 Abbey Street, Newton, Auckland, NZ.

Art and Object's rare book auction to be held on Wednesday 3rd of May has some items which may be of interest.
RESULTS: Prices including 18.5% buyers premium are shown in bold.

Lot 349. Photographs from Byrd's second expedition to the Antarctic, taken by Harold June, chief pilot on the expedition. Est: NZD 1500-2000. [NZD 4,100]
Lot 350. Borchgrevink. First on the Antarctic Continent. London 1901. Est: NZD 800-1200. [NZD 1,200]
Lot 354. Sir Douglas Mawson. The Home of the Blizzard. London 1915. Est: NZD 800. [NZD 1,000]
Lot 355. Captain Thomas Musgrave. Castaway on the Auckland Isles. London 1866. Est: NZD 250-350. [NZD 210]
Lot 358. Sir James Clark Ross. A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern Antarctic Regions… London 1847. Est: NZD 2500-3500. [NZD 4,000]
Lot 361. E.H. Shackleton. The Heart of the Antarctic. London 1909. Est: NZD 600. [NZD 480]
Lot 362. A double page supplement from The Weekly Press, Christchurch, featuring a humorous cartoon by W. A. Bowring 1904, titled 'Antics in the Antarctic.' Est: NZD 500-2000. [NZD DNS]
Link to the catalogue:"

(27 April 2017)


Monday 26 September 2017. 10am. 34-35 New Bond Street, London.

Appearing in the catalogue:

"John Bonham went to sea as a purser with P&O, an occupation that perfectly enabled him to indulge his passion for collecting travel books many years before he became a bookseller.
    During the 1960s and early '70s, John took advantage of his time ashore to visit bookshops in remote locations. It was a time when foraging in faraway places was still very rewarding - before the internet came along and made so many of us armchair travellers.
    John had the good fortune to be in Sydney in 1971, when the first part of the Ingleton Collection of Antarctica and Australiana was sold at auction. The first and subsequent sales provided a wonderful opportunity to acquire items from one of the great collections in a field that has long been central to John's collecting, bookselling and, most recently, publishing. In 1972, John married Sue Jameson. An assistant purser and equally well travelled, Sue is a New Zealander and a descendant of James Sligo Jameson, the naturalist and African explorer. John and Sue continue to make an almost annual visit to her family in New Zealand, where over the years they have made great finds in the most obscure locations.
    When the Bonhams started a family, John transferred to a division of P&O that enabled him to spend less time at sea, and more time with his collection. Finding that he had amassed a large number of duplicates, he decided to put them in a catalogue, encouraged by his many friends in the book trade. The catalogue was issued in 1976 and was a success, prompting John to waste no time in preparing another selection, this time of books that he no longer wanted in his private collection. Again, it sold well and his slow but sure entry into the full-time book trade was finally recognised in 1979, when the husband and wife partnership of J & S L Bonham joined the PBFA, and subsequently the ABA.
    While Sue looked after the administrative side of the business, John concentrated on buying and selling, capitalising on the profound knowledge and experience of the literature of travel and exploration that he had acquired from his own book collecting. Working from home in London, the Bonhams developed a steady catalogue business, and exhibited regularly at book fairs at home and abroad, including the Travel and Exploration Book Fair at the Royal Geographical Society, a landmark in the book- trade calendar.
    Returning to the subject of Antarctica - one of John's first loves as a collector - he collaborated in the publication of a three-volume facsimile, intended as a centenary edition, of The South Polar Times, produced by the men of Captain Scott's two journeys to Antarctica. It was published in 2002 to great critical acclaim, and in 2010 John produced, with the Scott Polar Research Institute, the first publication of volume IV of The South Polar Times. A great undertaking, flawlessly executed, John's collaborative publication is widely regarded as a significant addition to the field of travel literature, in which J & S L Bonham continues to be such an enduring and respected name.
    —Sheila Markham"

There are 21 Antarctic lots in this fine sale (the prices realized—including the buyer's premium—are in bold, in brackets):

Lot 6. Amundsen, Roald. The South Pole: An account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the "Fram," 1910-1912.. London: John Murray, 1912. First English Edition, 2 volumes, leaf detached in vol.1 (pp.xv/xvi), a little spotting, slightly rubbed. Est: £800-1,000. [£1,875]

Lot 9. Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition ('Endurance' and 'Aurora'), 1914-17. Four photographs of the Ross Sea party and relief expedition, 1915-1917. Est: £1,800-2,200. [£2,125]

Lot 42. Bellingshausen, Fabian Gottlieb von. The Voyage of Captain Bellingshausen to the Antarctic Seas 1819-1821. Translated from the Russian, edited by Frank Debenham [Hakluyt Society, second series, vols. 91-92]. London: Hakluyt Society, 1945. First edition in English. Est: £500-700. [£750]

Lot 61. [Brown, R.N. Rudmose, and others.] Voyage of the "Scotia". Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration in Antarctic Seas. Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1906. First Edition. Inscribed by William Bruce, the expedition leader, to George Esslemont, M.P. Est: £1,000-1,500. [£1,188]

Lot 65. Bull, Henrik. The Cruise of the "Antarctic" to the south polar regions. London and New York: Edward Arnold, 1896. First Edition. Presentation Copy Inscribed by the Author. Est: £700-900. [£750]

Lot 90. Cherry-Garrard, Apsley. The Worst Journey in the World. Antarctic 1910-1913. London: Constable and Company, [1922]. First Edition with the spare labels. Est: £1,500-2,000. [£3,500]

Lot 105. Marra, John. Journal of the Resolution's Voyage, in 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775. On Discovery to the Southern Hemisphere, by which the non-existence of an undiscovered continent…is demonstratively proved. London: F. Newbery, 1775. First Edition. Est: £2,000-3,000. [£3,125]

Lot 132. Evans, Edward R.G.R. South with Scott. London: W. Collins, [1921]. First Edition, first issue. Very slightly rubbed. Est: £1,500-2,000. [£563]

Lot 142. [Ford, Charles Reginald (Attributed to)] Two sketches: the Discovery trapped in ice, and an Antarctic landscape. Two watercolour and ink sketches heightened with gouache. These are believed to be by Charles Reginald Ford (1880-1972), the steward on the Discovery, however the paintings bear a similarity to works by Edward Wilson (1872-1912), the zoologist and artist on the expedition; it is possible that Ford made his own copies, or these were given to Ford by Wilson. This lot includes various notes and letters compiled by a member of Ford's family and a magazine page dated 10 December 1904 showing Captain Scott, Ford, and the officers and crew of the Discovery. Est: £3,000-5,000. [£3,500]

Lot 156. Goksch, K. The ship "Fram" in the Antarctic pack ice Large Gouache on paper, black border, signed and inscribed '"Fram" im packeise, K. Goksch Schöneberg, Berlin' in lower right, backed on linen. Est: £2,000-3,000. [£813]

Lot 208. Joyce, Ernest Mills. The South Polar Trail...The log of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. London: Duckworth, 1929. First Edition, without errata slip, original cloth, dust-jacket, edges a bit spotted, jacket with crude, discoloured tape repairs. Est: £600-800. [DNS]

Lot 232. Levick, George Murray. Adélie Penguins. Matt silver print, mounted on card. Est: £2,000-3,000. [DNS]

Lot 267. Murray, James and George Marston. Antarctic Days. Sketches of the homely side of Polar life by two of Shackleton's men. London: Andrew Melrose, 1913. First Edition, original blue cloth, spine very slightly faded (as usual). Est: £400-600. [£563]

Lot 273. Nordenskjöld, Otto [Anon.] Four photographs from the Swedish Antarctic Expedition. [1901-1904]. Matt silver prints, captioned on the mount, some silver mirroring and retouching. Est: £800-1,200. [DNS]

Lot 278. Oates, Captain Lawrence Edward Grace. Collection comprising: i. Brown leather belt with brass buckle, branded initials 'L.E.G.O.' on the inside. ii. Two documents, the audited trust accounts for the estate of the uncle Charles George Oates. iii. 'Military Tournament' pamphlet listing Oates as a judge. iv. 'Oates Memorial Fund' pamphlet listing subscribers and showing the total amount received. v. Photogravure portrait of Oates with facsimile signature, by G. Lekegian & Co., Cairo. vi. Manuscript transcription of the poem 'Oates', from 'An Echo of the Spheres' by F.W. Bain. vii. William Wood, Ingleton Lodge, letter dated August 12, 1850 and two related notes. viii. Nine carte-de-visite albumen prints, many with inscriptions on verso. Est: £1,500-1,800. [£4,375]

Lot 298. Ponting, Herbert George. "Farewell to the Terra Nova." [1911] Carbon print, captioned ""Scott" Antarctic Expedition. Farewell to the Terra Nova" in ink, blindstamp signature in bottom right corner, framed and glazed, foxing to mount. Est: £2,000-3,000. [£2,250]

Lot 308. Priestley, Raymond E. Antarctic Adventure. Scott's Northern Party.. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1914. First Edition, original pictorial light blue cloth, scattered spotting, a few plates loose, binding slightly sunned and rubbed. Est: £400-600. [DNS]

Lot 323. Scott Robert Falcon, British Antarctic Expedition (Terra Nova) 1910-1913. Prospectus for the Antarctic Expedition of 1909, together with a typed letter signed by Scott to Miss A.C.T. Ward with a receipt for her subscription. [Scott, Robert Falcon] Antarctic Expedition for 1910 [title on upper wrapper]. (London: Printed by Spottiswoode and Co., [1909]), [8pp.], half-page map and two photographic illustrations in the text, text dated 'September 15, 1909', original wrappers, horizontal crease (from folding)
With: Typed letter on British Antarctic Expedition, 1910 headed paper, signed by Scott, addressed to A.C.T. Ward Esq. [sic], Peterhouse Lodge, Cambridge, acknowledging the subscription of £5 towards the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910, with an autograph post-script signed by Scott. A Very Rare Prospectus for Scott's 1910 Antarctic Expedition, which states "The main object of this Expedition is to reach the South Pole, and to secure for the British Empire the honour of that achievement." The prospectus includes a map showing the geographical discoveries of recent British expeditions, photographic illustrations of 'Motor sledge, March 10, 1909, mounting Snowslope 1 in 4.5', and 'Manchurian ponies', and has paragraphs headed 'The Geographical Situation', 'Plans for a Prolonged Southern Journey', 'Scientific Objects of the Expedition', and 'Extent of the Expedition'. Est: £1,500-1,800. [£4,750]

Lot 326. Shackleton, Ernest [and others]. The South Polar Times. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1907-14 and Cambridge: Scott Polar Research Institure in association with Bonham, 2010. First Edition, Limited Edition, 4 volumes, minor scattered browning and spotting, bindings very lightly rubbed.
This lot includes a facsimile of the fourth volume produced during the winter of 1912 in Scott's hut in Cape Evans. Est: £1,500-1,800. [£6,250]

Lot 354. Taylor, Griffith. With Scott: The Silver Lining. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1916. First Edition, second state with author's preface, original pictorial cloth, dust-jacket (chips, splits and darkening to jacket). Est: £2,000-2,500. [£2,750]

Lot 377. Weddell, James. A pair of watercolours of the brig Janes and cutter Beaufoy. Watercolour and ink, (each approximately 200 x 290mm.), the first captioned "Brig Janes and cutter Beaufoy in the latitude of 74° 15' South returning to the Northward 20th February 1823", the second "Brig Jane and cutter Beaufoy in latitude of South passing to the Southward a chain of Ice Islands. February 1823", framed and glazed, light browning, a few tears. Weddell used these watercolour sketches as the basis for two illustrations in his book A Voyage Towards the South Pole (1825). Est: £6,000-8,000. [£6,875]

RESULTS: Prices including 25% buyers premium are shown in bold.

All but four of the Antarctic lots sold. Lot 377, the Weddell watercolors, fetched £6,875, the highest. Two lots tied for the lowest at £563: Evans' South with Scott and Murray and Marston's Antarctic Days.

(26 September 2017)


Wednesday 3 May 2017. 1pm. 3 Abbey Street, Newton, Auckland, NZ.

Art and Object's rare book auction to be held on Wednesday 3rd of May has some items which may be of interest.
RESULTS: Prices including 18.5% buyers premium are shown in bold.

Lot 349. Photographs from Byrd's second expedition to the Antarctic, taken by Harold June, chief pilot on the expedition. Est: NZD 1500-2000. [NZD 4,100]
Lot 350. Borchgrevink. First on the Antarctic Continent. London 1901. Est: NZD 800-1200. [NZD 1,200]
Lot 354. Sir Douglas Mawson. The Home of the Blizzard. London 1915. Est: NZD 800. [NZD 1,000]
Lot 355. Captain Thomas Musgrave. Castaway on the Auckland Isles. London 1866. Est: NZD 250-350. [NZD 210]
Lot 358. Sir James Clark Ross. A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern Antarctic Regions… London 1847. Est: NZD 2500-3500. [NZD 4,000]
Lot 361. E.H. Shackleton. The Heart of the Antarctic. London 1909. Est: NZD 600. [NZD 480]
Lot 362. A double page supplement from The Weekly Press, Christchurch, featuring a humorous cartoon by W. A. Bowring 1904, titled 'Antics in the Antarctic.' Est: NZD 500-2000. [NZD DNS]
Link to the catalogue:"

(27 April 2017)


Wednesday 1 February 2017. 1pm. London

Bonhams has some very nice lots in this sale. Nearly everything is fresh and new to the saleroom. The provenance of many is Harry Dunlop, Chief Engineer of the Nimrod. The relevant lots are 171 through the end of the sale, Lot 198.
RESULTS: Prices including 25% buyers premium are shown in bold.

The polar lots did quite well. All sold with only one doing so under the low estimate (Lot 198, Byrd, the last lot in the sale). A few sold within the low and high estimate and most sold above the high estimate. Of the 25 highest priced lots, fully 14 were Antarctic. The priciest lot in the sale was Lot 175, the Aurora Australis, which went for £55,000 (£68,750 including the buyers premium). This compares with the Aurora in the Franklin Brooke-Hitching Sotheby's sale which fetched nearly double at £122,500 including the buyers premium. (This remains the world record for this title.) Although the Brooke-Hitching copy was notable as to condition, this copy is far more important in that it is the only known copy to include the elusive 'Giant Tick' illustration. It fetched more than the Levinson copy which sold for $70,000 (including premium) at Swann on May 24, 2007 and the £53,000 (including premium) that a copy sold for at the Anderson & Garland sale on March 21, 2006. So this copy earns second place in the price standings for Auroras.
The bargain of the sale? I would say Lot 194. £2,000 seems pretty reasonable for this association copy.

Those that caught my eye were several menus:
Lot 174: "To Celebrate the birthdays of our Shipmates H.J. Dunlop; & W.A.R. Mitchell…" 18 October 1907. Nimrod expedition. Handwritten. Est: £600-800. [2,000]
Lot 177: "Complimentary Dinner given to Lieutenant Shackleton and the Scientists and Officers of the Antarctic Expedition of 1907." Two menus, one signed by Shackleton, Bernard Day, William Roberts, and seven others, 19 December 1907; the other by Shackleton, Wild and Edgeworth David, 30 December 1907. Both dinners in Christchurch. Est: £2,000-3,000. [3,750]
Lot 179: Menu for the British Antarctic Expedition dinner held at the Canterbury Club, Christchurch. Signed by Shackleton, Wild, Mawson, Priestley, Marston, Edgeworth David, England, and 8 others, 30 December 1907. Est: £1,000-1,500. [3,500]
Lot 180: Two menus: "Luncheon Menu. British Antarctic Expedition." United Service Hotel, Christchurch. Signed by Shackleton and 18 other Members of the British Antarctic Expedition, 26 March 1909. "Complimentary Banquet to Lieut. E.H. Shackleton, M.V.C., the Shore Party and Officers of the S.Y. Nimrod, on their return from Antarctica." Philosophical Institute of Canterbury. Signed by John K. Davis (Nimrod's First Officer), Henry Dunlop, and 24 other attendees, the upper cover printed with map of the South Pole (showing position reached by "Discovery" and "Nimrod"), 3 April 1909. Est: £1,500-2,500. [3,750]
Lot 182: "South Polar Dinner given by John Howard Mcfadden." Large-format menu card embellished with an original watercolour oval vignette by George Marston the Nimrod artist of a polar scene (man, sledge and tent against snow-covered mountains), large penguin and decoration, signed by the artist on the vignette, Oddenino's Imperial Restaurant, 13 June 1913. Est: £2,000-4,000. [2,500]
Lot 197: "Menu signed by Shackleton and Capitan de Corbeta Ruperto Elichiribehety with a sketch map of Elephant Island by Shackleton, [Port Stanley, Falkland Islands], June 1916. Est: £2,500-3,000. [5,625]

Some of the other lots.

Lot 171: British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904. A collection of 40 photographs relating to the Discovery expedition, most attributable to Reginald Skelton, [c. 1901-1904]. Est: £4,000-6,000. [13,125]
Lot 172: British Antarctic Relief Expedition. Log of midshipman A. N. ["Neville"] Pepper, titled on the flyleaf "National Antarctic Relief Ship/S.Y. Morning/from London, Madeira, Lyttelton N.Z. & the Antarctic", 9 July 1902 to 26 March 1903 and 24 October 1903 to 17 October 1904. In all, 151 pages. Includes some sketches. Est: £8,000-12,000. [18,750]
Lots 175 and 176: Two copies of the Aurora Australis. Lot 175 is the remarkable one as it's the only known copy to include the "Giant Tick" illustration. This copy also includes a menu from the same press at Cape Royds. Est: £15,000-35,000. [68,750]
The second copy is described as a "dummy copy," having only 58 blank leaves. Loosely inserted is a charcoal and ink sketch. Est: £4,000-6,000. [8,125]
Lot 178: Aeneas Mackintosh and Henry Dunlop. Extracts from the diary of Henry Dunlop, Chief Engineer of the Nimrod and from Aeneas Mackintosh's private diary written on the Nimrod Expedition, in two folders; an autograph letter from Mackintosh to Dunlop; and a group of contemporary news cuttings. Est: £1,000-1,500. [3,125]
Lot 183: Edition de luxe in vellum of The Heart of the Antarctic including The Antarctic Book signed by members of the shore party. Presentation copy to Auguste Oddenino. Est: £10,000-15,000. [16,250]
Lots 188-192: Five Ponting photographs. Est: Ranging from £2,000-4,000 except for Lot 192, £2,000-3,000. [5,625-8,125]
Lot 194: A presentation copy of The Heart of the Antarctic from Ernest Joyce to his wife, apparently carried by the Ross Sea Party during the Endurance expedition. Est: £1,500-2,000. [2,000]

(23 December 2016)


Tuesday 20 September 2016. 1pm. New York

Somehow I missed knowing about this sale until I received an e-mail from Peter Spielmann after the fact. Lots 140-50 were polar items. (Only two lots sold. Prices including 25% buyers premium are shown in bold.) Among those of interest:
Lot 142. A fine copy of the vellum 3-volume edition of Shackleton's The Heart of the Antarctic, estimated at $22,000-28,000 [did not sell];
Lot 145. Early manuscript drafts and annotated typescripts for Alone, estimated at $5,000 [did not sell];
Lots 146-48, all associated with Lt. Col. Murray A. Weiner who participated in BAEW III and later Antarctic expeditions.
    146: Personal collection of Polar Memories, estimated at $1,500-2,500 [did not sell];
    147: The Polar Library of Weiner, 37 volumes, estimated at $1,200-1,600 [did not sell];
    148: Collection of polar photographs and slides, estimated at $1,200-1,800 [$1,250]
Lot 149: Three sledging flags from Little America IV, Operation Deepfreeze I and II, estimated at $1,000-1,500. [$875]
Lot 150: Color movies of Antarctic, 5 reels, estimated at $1,000-1,500 [did not sell].

Three other lots had Antarctic connections: Lot 78, a complete set of Cook's voyages, but not all first editions (2nd voyage, third edition), estimated at $10,000-15,000 [$10,000]. Lot 80, George Anderson, A new authentic account of voyages round the worl…, (Cook's three voyages) 1784-86, estimated at $2,000-3,000 [did not sell]. Lot 82. A wooden fragment from H.M.S. Bounty, estimated at $4,000-6,000. This relic was presented to Admiral Byrd and was later sold at auction by the family. [$11,250]

(25 September 2016)


Online auction concluding on Sunday 28 August 2016. 2pm. Adelaide, Australia.

Lots 95-103 are 'Polar' items. Also Lot 83 (Cook). Michael e-mails:
"Although there are only nine polar (Antarctic) items (see lots 95-103), they include a decent set of the deluxe edition of The Heart of the Antarctic, complete with The Antarctic Book; Richard Walter Richards's signed copy of Shackleton's South (as well as a signed copy of his own 1962 account of the Ross Sea Shore Party's trials); and a copy of Scott's Last Expedition, signed by members of the expedition.

I also have some more original Hurley photographs (Fine Art Society carbon prints) from Sir Douglas Mawson's personal collection for sale—but not by auction.

(15 August 2016)


To be held Wednesday 10 August 2016. Noon. 3 Abbey Street, Newton, New Zealand.

Lots 300-359 are 'Polar & Subantarctic Islands' items. Some nice titles though nothing of great rarity or interest: Amundsen, Bernacchi, Borchgrevink, Bull, Byrd, Davis, Doorly, Ford, Hayes, Hurley, Joyce, Levick, Mawson, Priestley, Ross, Scott, Shackleton, Taylor and Worsley. Some have condition issues. The subantarctic islands titles are perhaps as a group more interesting or at least more uncommon.

(4 August 2016)


To be held Tuesday 5 July 2016. 5pm. Auckland, New Zealand.

The sole Antarctic lot of interest is No 85:
"Commander Mawson Henry Moyes - 1886-1981 (Antarctic Explorer and Naval Officer) military hat in box with associated epaulets, gold wire detail. A member of Mawson's Australasian Antarctic expedition of 1911 to 1914. He returned to the Antarctic on the Aurora which sailed to the Ross Sea in December 1916 to rescue marooned members of Sir Ernest Shackleton's trans-Antarctic expedition. He made more voyages to the Antarctic and was awarded polar medals in silver and bronze. NZ$1000-NZ$2000."
His Christian name is Morton not Mawson. He was a geologist with the Western Base Party of Mawson's AAE, then navigating officer on the Aurora under Captain John King Davis during the rescue of the Ross Sea Party. Mawson took him on for BANZARE 1929-31 but he only stayed for the first half of the expedition.

(30 June 2016)

RESULTS: The lot did not sell.


To be held Thursday 28 April 2016. 2:30pm. London.

There are only two Antarctic lots in this sale but both are well worth noting:
Lot 64: Royal Geographical Society silver Special Antarctic Medal, 1913. Together with a letter to Captain Scott's sister from the Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society (John Scott Keltie), 6 November 1913. One of only 26 silver special Antartic medals presented by the Royal Geographical Society "for Antarctic discovery" to commemorate the 1910-13 British Antartic Expedition led by Captain Scott. This silver medal believed to be the one presented to Captain Scott's mother. Estimate: £5,000-7,000.

Lot 65: A previously unrecorded copy of the Aurora Australis, Antarctica's first book. Reflecting the expedition's actual provisions, the contents of the original packing crates are stencilled on the inside of the venesta covers. This copy has a letter "S" on the inside upper cover and "PETIT POIS" on the lower cover. Provenance: Acquired in the late 1960s by the husband of the present owner. Included with this lot is an illustrated "Souvenir of lecture: Nearest the South Pole, by Sir Ernest Shackleton," (8vo, in original wrappers; slightly marked), together with a matt silver-print cabinet card of Shackleton by Thomson of New Bond Street and a glossy real photograph postcard of Shackleton, also by Thomson. Estimate: £40,000-60,000.
(4 April 2016)

RESULTS: There was some spirited bidding for both of these lots. Lot 64, the Scott RGS medal, opened at £4,000 and was sold for £10,000, hammer price, £3,000 over the high estimate. £12,500 with the buer's premium.
Lot 65, the Aurora Australis opened at £35,000 and sold for £60,000, hammer price, the same as the high estimate. £75,000 with the buyer's premium. The last copy sold at Sotheby's in the last of the four Brooke-Hitching sales (30 September 2015) fetched £122,500, including the buyer's premium. This remains the highest price that the Aurora has ever reached.

There was a third Antarctic lot, originally overlooked: Lot 61, Wales and Bayly, The Original Astronomical Observations, Made In The Course of a Voyage towards the South Pole, and Round the World, In His Majesty's Ships the Resolution and Adventure, London, 1777. The estimate was £8,000-10,000 and sold for £8,500, hammer price, £10,625 with the buyer's premium.

(28 April 2016)


To be held Thursday 4 February 2015. 1:30pm. New York.

There's a single Antarctic lot in this sale:
Lot 80 (mis-described as ARCTIC). Photo Album from Admiral Robert [sic] E. Byrd's first Antarctic Expedition. 130 photographs. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. For bi-polar collectors the sale does feature 40 lots of the Arctic Collection of Ray Edinger.
RESULTS: $2,500 which includes the 25% buyer's premium.
(16 January 2016)


To be held Tuesday 17 November 2015. 1:30pm. London.

There are three attractive Antarctic lots in this sale:
Lot 87. Antarctic Relief Expedition. Three albums containing over 280 photographs form the Discovery Relief Expedition. Compiled by S.Y. Morning's chief engineer, John Morrison, recording the two voyages to McMurdo Sound for the relief of Scott's Discovery Expedition. Nearly all the photos are captioned in ink. Estimate: £6,000-8,000. RESULTS: £7,500.

Lot 88. Endurance Expedition. A pair of hand-tinted photographs by Frank Hurley, March 1915, each captioned and titled on the mount. Estimate: £1,500-2,000. RESULTS: £3,500.

Lot 89. Nimrod Expedition. An album containing 95 photographs, captioned in ink by James Murray, biologist on the expedition. Estimate: £5,000-7,000. RESULTS: £13,750.

(14 November 2015)


To be held Tuesday 27 October 2015. 6pm. InterContinental Sydney, 117 Macquarie Street, Sydney.

The consignor of lot 344 in this Australian sale e-mailed me thinking the item might be of interest to Antarcticans. Indeed, I think it will be!
It's sewt of scales owned by Sir Douglas Mawson and used during the Nimrod expedition. Here's what the on-line catalogue says:
"A HISTORICAL CASED SET OF L. OETLING AND CO. BRASS SCIENTIFIC SCALES, OWNED BY SIR DOUGLAS MAWSON, LATE 19TH CENTURY the top of the mahogany case stamped 'BR.ANT.EX 1907', the brass precision scales inscribed L Oertling, London Ltd. twice, an ivory small scale plaque attached to the brass column, the case with glazed sides and two drawers to base, ivory knobs and on brass toupie feet 56 cm high, 44 cm wide, 32 cm deep.
Provenance The beam balance was used for precise measurements at Cape Royds during the 1907-1909 British Antarctic (Nimrod) Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, of which Sir Douglas Mawson was a member. The balance was subsequently given to Sir Douglas Mawson by Shackleton who brought it back to South Australia. Private Collection South Australia."
The estimate is A$5,000-7,000.

It's the only polar lot in the sale.

RESULTS: This lot did not sell.

(11 October 2015)


To be held Thursday 8 October 2015. 85 Old Brompton Road, London.

There's nothing in this sale of Antarctic interest save two Wilson watercolors and a slew of mostly foreign medals and decorations associated with Shackleton.

Lot 139 is entitled "Slope of Mount Erebus," signed by Wilson with an estimate of £4,000-6,000. This was in the Züst sale, 9 May 2002, with the same estimate and did not sell. And it suffered the same fate here as well.
Lot 140 is entitled "'Discovery' Expedition, Farthest South ever reached, Dec. 29, 1902." Estimate: £6,000-8,000. It last sold at a Christie's sale on 8 April 1998 (lot 158) fetching £8,625 which includes the buyer's premium. This one did sell (£7,500) but at less than it did 17 years ago.

The Shackleton awards and decorations constitute lots 141 - 152, the estimates ranging from £1,000 to £40,000, the highest being for the RGS Silver Medal, 1904.
Christie's has a good item on its website about the medals: From the Land of the Mist and Snow.

Thanks to Joe O'Farrell for bringing the sale of the medals to my attention.
(13 September 2015)

RESULTS: This proved to be quite a sale. Every estimate was exceeded, often by a factor of upwards of 10 or so. The star of the lots was Shackleton's British decoations, four in all, which fetched £230,500 against an estimate of £20,000-30,000. Runner-up was Lot 141, Shackleton's silver RGS medal, at £86,500.
(11 October 2015)


Fourth of four sales to be held Wednesday (30 September 2015) 34-35 New Bond Street, London.
Prices in brackets include the buyer's premium of 25%.

The fourth and final sale of Franklin Brooke-Hitching's superb library is coming up on the 30th of September. There are 32 Antarctic lots: 1079-86, 1096, 1098, 1125-29, 1137-44, 1170, 1251, 1268, 1269, 1329-31, 1351, 1386.
Among these are eight Sir James Clark Ross lots (1079-86); probably the most special being Lot 1079. [Parliamentary paper]. Ships Erebus and Terror. Extracts from the despatch of Captain James Ross…, London: House of Commons, 1841 (estimate £4,000-6,000 [Fetched £4,750 including the buyer's premium; almost seems like a bargain!]) and Lot 1080. Report of the Committee of Physics and Meteorology of the Royal Society relative to the observations to be made in the Antarctic expedition and in the magnetic observatories. London: Richard and John E. Taylor, 1840. Capt. Freycinet's copy. (Estimate £6,000-9,000. [£16,250])

Lots 1125-29 are all Scott-related, the scarcest being Lot 1125, Catalogue of books of the Discovery. National Antarctic Expedition library. London, 1901. (Estimate £3,000-5,000. [£15,000]) There's both a 'Voyage of the Discovery' and a 'Last Expedition' in dustjackets (Lots 1127 and 1128) as well as a First Murray Printing of a 'Voyage of the Discovery' (Lot 1129), the "only known copy with the dust-jackets." (Estimate: £3,000-4,000. [£15,000])

Certainly the star of this sale will be Lot 1137, an exceptionally fine copy of the Aurora Australis, written, edited, illustrated, printed, bound and issued in the Antarctic during Shackleton's Nimrod expedition. Estimate: £50,000-70,000 (ca. $77,000-108,000). (The last sale I have in my records at which an Aurora sold was the June 26, 2007 Bonhams sale when it fetched £43,200 with the buyer's premium (ca. $86,400). A month earlier, John Levinson's copy sold at Swann on May 24, 2007 for $84,000 including the buyer's premium. A copy went for £53,000 ($92,000) with the buyer's premium at the Anderson & Garland sale on March 21, 2006. I believe this to be the highest price ever realized for an Aurora at auction. This record could very easily be broken on September 30th.) [It fetched, with the buyer's premium, £122,500, far and away the highest price of the sale.]
The estimate is the highest by far in the sale. The closest is Lot 1356 at £30,000-40,000. On the whole, some of the highest estimates are for Antarctic titles. Throughout, the estimates seem low; they were generally far exceeded in the earlier three sales.

Other Shackleton lots are Nos. 1138-1144. Five of them have dustjackets (South Polar Times, Heart of the Antarctic, South, Mills' Life and Worsley's Shackleton's Boat Journey and thus enjoy a premium). The two most desirable are Lot 1140, The South Polar Times, 3 vols in dustjackets (estimate £20,000-30,000 [did not sell]) and Lot 1143, Murray's Antarctic Manual but not any copy: signed 'Ernest H. Shackleton, "Discovery" 1901"' hence resulting in an elevated estimate of £7,000-10,000 [£32,500].

In the afternoon session, there is one Scott lot—1251, Griffith Taylor's With Scott: The Silver Lining in a dustjacket is estimated at £700-1,000 [£3,250], and two further Shackleton lots—1351, Wild's Shackleton's Last Voyage in a dustjacket, estimated at £800-1,200 [£4,375] and 1386, Worsley's Endurance with a dustjacket and estimated at £1,000-1,500. [£10,000!]

Lot 1269 is what looks like a fairly nice copy of Thomson's Voyage of the Challenger, 2 vols, with a quite reasonable estimate of £250-350. [£625.]

The Antarctic stars of the afternoon session are both Weddell related: Lot 1329 Observations on the probability of reaching the South Pole. London, 1826, "very rare." Estimate: £7,000-10,000 [£40,000]. And Lot 1330, A Voyage towards the South Pole, London. 1825. First edition. The high estimate of £15,000-20,000 is explained by the signature of Capt. Freycinet's on the title and 76 pages of his notes and underlinings. [£37,500.]

This will be a sale worth watching.

RESULTS: The sale total was £1,709,203 (of which the Aurora Australis represents about 7% of the total). The totals of the previous three sales were: £2,365,706 (Sale 1); £3,900,417 (Sale 2); and £1,229,642 (Sale 3). The total for all four sales: £9,204,968. Not bad at all!

And here's a special report from our on-site correspondent:
"Yesterday's fourth and final sale of books from the library of Franklin Brooke-Hitching proved to be something of a spectator sport for most collectors and specialists. We can tear up the rule-book—if there is one!—on prices for most of the Antarctic items that featured in the sale. In fact this final sale of the impressive single-owner collection contained a larger proportion of Antarctic titles than any of the previous sales, and perhaps for that reason attracted stronger bidding. Books with something of a track record made new highs—the limited edition Heart of the Antarctic with the usual second issue Antarctic Book at £50,000, a dustjacketed copy of the trade edition for £8750, South in d.j. for £10,625, and a huge £122,500 for the Aurora Australis. And books that appear at auction less often, or in some cases have not appeared before, realised what are also likely to be market-setting prices: The catalogue cover featured the map from Weddell's Observations (an exceedingly scarce account that appeared separately before being incorporated into Weddell's narrative for its second edition), and it sold for £40,000 against an original estimate of £7,000-£10,000.

The vast majority of these lots sold to a single telephone bidder, who by endurance saw off most of the opposition. Starting with the Ross Report—"the first Antarctic manual'—at £16,250, this same buyer bagged books relating to expeditions by Ross, Scott, Shackleton, and Weddell. But this individual clearly had limits, and in fact proved to be the underbidder on the Aurora (which sold to the map dealer Daniel Crouch for a customer). And the sale was attended by several other private pretenders, so that very little fell within the auctioneers' estimates as they battled with the phone buyer. Indeed, something like Shackleton-mania took hold of these people, which resulted in some outlandish prices on books that might have been expected to sell for considerably less in other contexts: the Mill Life of Shackleton in a dust-jacket at £8125 (won by our phone bidder), and more bizarrely the 'ghost' edition of Worsley's Shackleton's Boat Journey (a staggering £35,000, to a demure lady who stood at the back of the room, from which position she defeated the phone). A few other lots fell to a husband-and-wife team operating from the seats at the centre of the room, and one or two more to a London-based Italian collector.

An exception to these unexpected results was the set of South Polar Times. Though not without some flaws—the usual bugbear of perished gutta percha—but in the original dust-jackets, this set failed to sell in what is becoming a recurring manner with this title."


Third of four sales to be held Thursday (19 March 2015) 34-35 New Bond Street, London.
The concluding sale is scheduled for 30 September 2015: Part 4, Q-Z).

The third sale of Franklin Brooke-Hitching's superb library is coming up on the 19th of March. There are 13 Antarctic lots, only one lot of unusual interest, but as with the entire collection, conditions are generally exceptional, many books with dustjackets.

(Results in bold. Prices include 25% buyer's premium.)
Sale total: £1,229,642

Lot 758. Lashly, William. The Diary of W. Lashly. No 20 of 75 copies. Lacking the glassine jacket. Estimate: £1,500-2,500. (This, like many estimates in this series of sales, seems low which has been borne out by the prices realized in the first two sales.) £5,250.
Lot 759. Lashly, William. The Diary of W. Lashly. Another copy, previously unrecorded and probably unique. The binding is different: "original black calf-backed oatmeal hessian boards, original paper label with printed title on the upper cover." The cataloguer notes: "This is possibly the printer's personal, unnumbered copy as it is eccentrically printed and bound: two pages are printed on one side of a leaf, each of which is then folded in half and bound as a quire, thereby leaving the fore-edge unopened. The copy is printed on laid paper, but a different stock from the limited edition." Although the estiimates of the two copiers are the same, my guess is that this copy will fetch more. Estimate: £1,500-2,000. £9,375.
The remaining lots are fine but standard Antarctic titles. The two Lashly's are the stars of the of the Antarctic offerings, despite some of those below having higher estimates.

Lot 811. M'Cormick, Robert. Voyages of Discovery In The Arctic and Antarctic Seas, and Round The World. H.M. Stanley's copy with presentation inscription. Estimate: £4,000-6,000. £11,250.
Lot 848. Markham, Clements. The Arctic Navy List; or, A Century of Arctic & Antarctic Officers, 1773-1873. Estimate: £1,200-1,800. £3,000.
Lot 850. Markham, Clements. The Lands of Silence. A History of Arctic and Antarctic Exploration. Estimate: £300-400. £1,188.
Lot 862. Mathews, L. Harrison. South Georgia. The British Empire's Subantarctic Outpost. Estimate: £1,000-2,000. £5,250.
Lot 867. Mawson, Douglas. The Home of the Blizzard. Distinguished by having dust-jackets. Estimate: £2,000-3,000. £5,625.
Lot 868. Mawson, Douglas. The Home of the Blizzard. Distinguished by having dustjackets, in this instance possibly unique variants. Estimate: £2,000-3,000. £4,500.
Lot 914. Murdoch, W.G. Burn. From Edinburgh to The Antarctic. An Artist's Notes and Sketches during The Dundee Antarctic Expedition of 1892-93. Estimate: £400-600. (Seems very low.) £1,000.
Lot 915. Murray, James, and George Marston. Antarctic Days. Sketches of the Homely Side of Polar Life by Two of Shackleton's Men. Edition de Luxe. With the dustjacket and glassine outer wrapper. Estimate: £3,000-3,500. (Likely go far higher.) £9,375.
Lot 962. Nunn, John. Narrative of the Wreck of the "Favorite" on the Island of Desolation: Detailing the Adventures, Sufferings, and Privations of John Nunn; An Historical Account of the Island, and its Whale and Seal Fisheries.. Estimate: £400-600. (Seems low.) £1,000.
Lot 1030. Ponting, Herbert. The Great White South. Estimate: £2,000-3,000. Largely attributable to the presence of the 'very scarce dustwrapper.' £6,875.
Lot 1043. Priestley, Raymond E. Antarctic Adventure. Scott's Northern Party. Association copy. Dust-jacket. Estimate: £2,000-3,000. £8,750

REPORT: "The third sale of the Brooke-Hitching library, Part 3 achieved a total of £1,229,642, well above its pre-sale high estimate. As with the previous two sales, bids came from around the world and new auction records were made.
The top price was £57,000 for a finely bound set of Samuel Purchas's Pilgrimes (1625-26), followed by new auction records of £45,000 for the Huth-Penrose copy of Mortimer's Observations and Remarks made during a Voyage… in the Brig Mercury (1791), £35,000 for Middleston's The Last East-Indian Voyage (1606), and £32,500 for a first edition of Lind's landmark Treatise of the Scurvy (1753)."
—From Sothebys website.

The M'Cormick fetched the highest price of any of the Antarctic lots: £11,250 against an estimate of £4,000-6,000. The Stanley association probably was a factor. There was a time when you could pick up a set for almost nothing. Both Lashly's did well (£5,250 and £9,375). Somewhat surprising were the high prices obtained by the Murray and Marston (£9,375), the Ponting (£6,875, mostly due to the dustwrapper) and the Priestley (£8,750). No lot went at or below the estimate.
—R. Stephenson (21 March 2015)

"Over a series of four auctions starting on 27th March 2014, Sotheby's will present the most magnificent collection of books charting the discovery of the world ever to emerge on the market. Recounting intrepid stories of Britain's finest adventurers from the sixteenth century to the 1930s, the private library of some 1,500 rare and important books—all written in English—has been carefully assembled by collector Franklin Brooke-Hitching over four decades. Each and every book was handpicked for its exceptional condition."

"Over 40 years, Franklin Brooke-Hitching assembled the finest private collection of English language books relating to voyages, exploration and discovery from 16th century to 1930s. Together, they tell the story of mankind's persistent quest—over half a millennium—to explore and understand the world. Many books are unique or very rare presentation copies from the authors, or in fine bindings, and all are notable for being in the finest condition imaginable. Brooke-Hitching's library also contains books on science, medicine and natural history; including works on the health of seafarers, astronomy, the calculation of longitude and whaling.
Sotheby's second sale (featuring authors D-J) took place on 30 September 2014, with two further sales to be held in spring and autumn 2015."

(31 March 2014)
(28 August 2014)
(19 February 2015)


Held Wednesday 3 December 2014. Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge, London.

I seemed to have missed this sale entirely, at least before the date. Lots 247-77 were polar, all Antarctic. Some of those of interest to me include:
Including 25% buyer's premium.
251. A book on Tennyson from the Discovery library, listed in the Catalogue of Books of the Discovery. £625. Est: £600-800.
254. ALS Wiliam Colbeck to Albert Markham. Interesting not so much for the content but for the fact that it has a round letterhead logo of the S.Y. Morning which I've never seen before. £1,625. Est: £1,000-1,200.
262. A wooden fragment of the Endurance signed by Shackleton ("E.H. Shackleton"). I have a very tiny piece but this is nearly 5 inches long. I don't recall seeing such a thing in previous polar sales. £6,250. Est: £700-900.
263. Hussey's hook-bladed knife in original leather sheath, taken with him on the epic journey to Elephant Island, with his name scratched on the handle. £6,875. Est: £5,000-7,000.
272. Joyce's The South Polar Trail, first edition, presentation copy to L. C. Bernacchi. Also signed by Hussey. £1,187. Est: £800-1,000.
277. Ritscher's Deutsche Antarktische Expedition 1938/3, complete with the 3-D stereo glasses. I've nearly given up trying to find an affordable copy. £1,375. Est: £800-1,200.
(8 December 2014)


To be held Wednesday & Thursday 19 and 20 November, 2014. 399-401 Strand, London.

A large number of lots had Antarctic associations.
The most interesting—not philatelic—was a letter from William Speirs Bruce on toilet paper? Here's the description:
"Antarctica: Scottish National Expedition 1902-04: Local letter handwritten and signed by expedition leader William Speirs Bruce on three sheets of toilet paper (unused), headed ''Bay N/Camp'' and addressed to ''Al. Ross Esq./S.Y. Scotia'' (taxidermist Alastair Ross), carried by zoologist David Wilton with manuscript receiving note ''21/11/03''. Message relates to the collecting of samples and accompanied ''8 Nellies Eggs unblown'' as well as ''a skin of white nellie. I ripped the body out as well as I could with rough tools, a little blood has got on around the cut which I hope you can get off''. A unique 'internal' expedition message providing physical evidence of the movements of the expedition party during their exploration of the northern coast of Laurie Island. The Giant Petrel, 'nellie' or 'stinkbird', was noted by James Weddell in 1823 as ''having an unpleasing appearance, and being extremely voracious. Their fondness for blubber often induces them to eat so much that they are unable to fly.''
Estimate:£1000 - £1200"
It fetched £1,872 (or £624 per sheet!)

Here's a summary of sale highpoints:
"The Falkland Islands & Antarctica concluding session of the auction, a popular and regular event, was again well attended and on occasions even somewhat boisterous as collectors competed for lots from the collection of the late Harry Evans who has been recognized justly as the 'founding father of Polar philately'. These fascinating items link us directly to the heroic deeds of the early explorers including the tragic Captain Scott. Lot 3981, an official envelope and message from Tryggve Gran, Norwegian ski-expert on Scott's last expedition in which he declares that "The pole is a certainty", doubled its estimate at £2,287.
Curiosities from the lesser known expeditions, though, caused some of the greatest surprises, although in view of their undoubted rarity this should not have been surprising at all. A real photographic postcard showing members of the British Graham Land Expedition of 1920-22 (lot 4017, left) realized £7,020 and among an exceptional group of lots from 1902-04 Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, a card with Argentine adhesive and Orcadas del Sur datestamp (lot 3898) sent to Aberdeen by botanist Robert Rudmose-Brown whilst in the South Orkneys achieved £4,712. The much discussed toilet paper message written by expedition leader William Speirs Bruce whilst out on the ice (lot 3893) found a new home for £1,872. It takes an impressively large envelope to display the whole of the Falklands 1933 Centenary set and lot 4043 had the extra attractions of first day South Georgia cancellations and of being addressed to Lieutenant Commander W. Horton on the RRS Discovery II at Port Stanley. The £7,254 realisation was well deserved."
(24 December 2014)


To be held Wednesday 8 October 2014. 85 Old Brompton Road, London.
Results, including the buyer's premium, in bold.

Lots 97-110 were polar. Nothing terribly remarkable.
99. Bertram Armitage's telescope from the Nimrod expedition. Est: £2,000-3,000. £2.500.
103. W. W. Archer's Polar Medal and Scott Memorial Medal. Archer was Chief Steward aboard the Terra Nova. Est: £6,000-8,000. £18,750.
(8 December 2014)


Second of four sales to be held Thursday (30 September 2014) 34-35 New Bond Street, London.
Two further sales are scheduled for 2015: Part 3, K-P (19 March) and Part 4, Q-Z, autumn).

The second sale of Franklin Brooke-Hitching's superb library is coming up on the 30th of September. There are quite a few Arctic lots including 19 on the Franklin search. Only 10 Antarctic lots, nothing particularly exciting, but as with the entire collection, conditions are generally exceptional, many books with dustjackets.

(Results in bold. Prices include 25% buyer's premium.)
Sale total £3,900,417

Lot 382. Davis, J.E. Letter from the Antarctic. Very rare. Probably the mosty interesting of the Antarctic offerings in the sale. Estimate: £3,000-5,000. £21,250.
Lot 384. Davis, John King. With the "Aurora" in the Antarctic 1911-1914. Estimate: £1,500-2,000. £5,625.
Lot 389. Debenham, F. Report on the Maps and Surveys. Estimate: £200-300. £625.
Lot 408. Doorly, Gerald. The Voyages of the Morning. Estimate: £1,500-2,000. £2,750.
Lot 409. Dougall. William. Far South. Stewart Island, The Snares, Auckland… Estimate: £3,000-5,000. £11,875.
Lot 448. Enderby, Charles. Proposal for Re-establishing the British Southern Whale Fiishery… Estimate: £600-900. £5,000.
Lot 455. Evans, E.R.G.R. South with Scott. Estimate: £1,000-1,500. £7,500.
Lot 613. Hayes, J. Gordon. Antarctica. Estimate: £250-350. £1,750.
Lot 658. Hurley, Frank. Argonauts of the South. Estimate: £500-700. £2,375.
Lot 698. Joyce, Ernest. The South Polar Trail. Estimate: £1,000-2,000. £5,000.

REPORT: No lot sold below the high estimate. The priciest was lot 382, estimate £3,000-5,000. It sold for £21,250 including the premium. Silly me, I put in a bid for £4,000!

A Special Report from an Antarctic-Circle correspondent:
"I had some bids for the first half of the sale, and so stayed up to the last of them, and then figured I was wasting my time hoping to pick up anything for stock. As with Part 1, the prices were generally very high, and I didn't even put my hand in the air for your Davis! I bought a single lot. This second sale seemed somehow more buoyant than the initial sale, perhaps because expectations had been raised by the first one. I can give you a flavour of the first couple of hours, after which I left—John Bonham was there, and may still be, so perhaps could fill you in on the remainder of the sale.
The room was quite busy, with Franklin Brooke-Hitching himself in the final row at the back with his wife spectating (as on the previous occasion). Another collector, Richard Kossow, sat at the back, but did not seem to participate. Among the most active buyers were Peter Harrington (buyer of both higher value Darwins), Maggs, and Daniel Crouch (on some of the map items, as well as on some unexpected items such as the Dobbs pamphlets, which he underbid to Maggs at £175,000). Some lots in the time I was there were sold to other booksellers—Shapero, R. E. & G. B. Way, Major Ian Grahame, John Bonham, Clive Burden (Maps), Barbara Grigor-Taylor, Taikoo Books. At such high prices I feel sure that these were all carrying commission bids.
There were several private collectors in the room, though the two English buyers of Polar lots from the first sale did not lock horns today—one was not present, the other who was has narrowed his collecting field and so was bidding more selectively.
Inevitably the proceedings were held up by internet and phone bidding, and I am not able to say who was successful in this respect, though I know several North American booksellers were intending to bid by phone. The sale was previewed well in advance by several collectors whom you will know, and I would imagine they either left bids with the auctioneer, or were bidding by phone/internet.
From the evidence of the two hours I was there, books from most areas were making high sums. There were wobbles on some of the Africana, in that prices were not always above the top estimates, but nothing I saw failed to sell. The Doorly did not sell for a high sum, which surprised me, but the Hayes in d.j. made a very high price, suggesting that collectors were picking off upgrades for their collections. I have no doubt a certain collector is sitting at the back of the saleroom very happy with today's results."
(7 September 2014; 30 September 2014)
"Over a series of four auctions starting on 27th March 2014, Sotheby's will present the most magnificent collection of books charting the discovery of the world ever to emerge on the market. Recounting intrepid stories of Britain's finest adventurers from the sixteenth century to the 1930s, the private library of some 1,500 rare and important books—all written in English—has been carefully assembled by collector Franklin Brooke-Hitching over four decades. Each and every book was handpicked for its exceptional condition."

"Over 40 years, Franklin Brooke-Hitching assembled the finest private collection of English language books relating to voyages, exploration and discovery from 16th century to 1930s. Together, they tell the story of mankind's persistent quest—over half a millennium—to explore and understand the world. Many books are unique or very rare presentation copies from the authors, or in fine bindings, and all are notable for being in the finest condition imaginable. Brooke-Hitching's library also contains books on science, medicine and natural history; including works on the health of seafarers, astronomy, the calculation of longitude and whaling.
Sotheby's second sale (featuring authors D-J) will take place on 30 September 2014, with two further sales to be held in spring and autumn 2015."

(31 March 2014)
(28 August 2014)


Monday (19 May 2014, 1pm) 24 Maddox Street, London W1S 1PP.


Five lots of Antarctic interest. (Results in bold. Prices include 24% buyer's premium.)
Lot 187. First edition of Cherry-Garrard, 'Worst Journey in the World,' "a little rubbed and soiled." Estimate: £800-1200. £1,860
Lot 188. Lashly, 'Diary.' With a signed letter from Lashly. "Covers a little sunned." Glassine jacket lacking. Quite rare. Estimate (which seems low): £1000-1500. £3,968
Lot 189. Scott, 'Voyage of the Discovery.' Presentation inscription to Mrs Schuster. "Foxed, one gathering pulled, rubbed, tear to head of spine." Estimate: £2500-3500. £3,472
Lot 190. Shackleton, 'The Heart of the Antarctic.' Inscribed and with signed portrait photogravure. "occasional spotting and some light soiling, endpapers a little browned … spines faded and worn, creases and spine ends chipped with loss, rubbed and soiled." Estimate £1000-1500. £2,232
Lot 191. Edward A. Wilson, 'Between Cape Town and Simon's Town.' Watercolor. Estimate: £3000-4000. did not sell

(16 May and 24 May 2014)


First of four sales to be held Thursday (27 March 2014), 10:30 am and 2 pm. 34-35 New Bond Street, London.
The next auction will follow on 30th September 2014, with two further sales scheduled for 2015.

"Over a series of four auctions starting on 27th March 2014, Sotheby's will present the most magnificent collection of books charting the discovery of the world ever to emerge on the market. Recounting intrepid stories of Britain's finest adventurers from the sixteenth century to the 1930s, the private library of some 1,500 rare and important books—all written in English—has been carefully assembled by collector Franklin Brooke-Hitching over four decades. Each and every book was handpicked for its exceptional condition."

Among the offerings is a copy of the Aurora Australis (estimate: £30,000-40,000) and a copy of the edition deluxe of Shackleton's The Heart of the Antarctic with the Antarctic Book (estimate £10,000-15,000).

See the press release.

There is also a listing of the library. It's unclear whether every book will appear in the four sales, but probably so.
(4 February 2014)

UPDATE: The printed catalogue is now out as is the online listing. Charlotte Edwins of Sotheby's e-mails to say "The dates for the last two sales are still to be confirmed, however I can tell you they will both take place in 2015. As the sale is ordered alphabetically by author, I would expect Aurora Australis to fall under S [for Shackleton]. The exact division of lots between sales has not yet been decided."

This is the finest private collection of English global exploration and discovery to have been formed in the last century. When he began to collect in the late 1960s, Franklin Brooke-Hitching set himself two guiding principles. First, and the greatest challenge, was that the books in his collection were to be perfect to the eye. This commitment to superlative quality, whenever possible in first or best editions in original condition, has remained paramount throughout the formation of the library. Brooke-Hitching's inspiration as a collector in pursuit of the most stunning copies was William Beckford (1760-1844), who rated the visual perfection of his books above all else and would admit nothing to his shelves that failed to satisfy this fundamental requirement.
    Second, in subject matter, the library was to focus on English voyages of discovery and exploration, that is, of seas and lands that were unknown or seldom visited by Britons. In this he was, unconsciously, emulating Richard Hakluyt (1552-1616), the first great collector of English voyages, who set himself similar criteria in publishing the two editions of his Principal Navigations (1589, 1598) when he focused on 'search and discoverie' rather than voyages 'neerehome'. The Brooke-Hitching library is not, therefore, a record of mere travel, but of first and early encounters with, as Hakluyt put it, 'Strange, remote and farre distant countreys'.
    However, as titles were acquired, this second principle was broadened geographically to include coastal and inland exploration. In this the library followed the course of British exploration itself, beginning with the early English settlements in North America and the dogged search for a Northwest Passage through which, it was hoped, China could be reached, then, via the shores of South America, the exploration of the Pacific—conducted above all by Captain James Cook—and the revelation of Australia, that great continent in the south. Voyaging eastwards to India and further Asia, there were routes to the Levant, the Gulf and the Middle East to be discovered. Once the oceans had been traversed and the coasts of the continents of the world had been established, the interiors were still to be explored. Some of this exploration was by river, but, at this point, the library's scope was widened yet further to include overland discovery, notably of Central Asia and the interiors of Australia and Africa.
    Many of the explorations had a pioneering scientific dimension, and this, too, comes within the remit of the library. Thus, for example, Cook's three voyages are complemented by their volumes of astronomical observations, while Charles Darwin's voyage of the Beagle and other nineteenth-century expeditions are accompanied by their companion studies of natural history. Also represented is a crucial adjunct to the story of maritime exploration and discovery: the establishment of accurate longitude and the prevention of scurvy, the two fundamental practical scientific challenges confronting the early oceanic voyagers. The works relating to the understanding and mastering of these problems, famously by John Harrison for longitude, and James Lind for scurvy, remind us that not only did the voyages of discovery recounted in the Brooke- Hitching library bring the world together, but that theyalsoledtomanyofthescientificdiscoveriesthat have brought about the modern world.
By the early twentieth century transoceanic travel was commonplace, but there remained one great void to be explored, that of the Antarctic continent, and it is with books – remarkably all exceptional copies still with their dust-jackets—from the heroic age of Scott and Shackleton that the global geographical scope of the Brooke-Hitching library is completed.
    Anthony Payne, 2014"
—From the catalogue
The Antarctic lots consist of 39, 44, 61, 90, 120, 121, 152, 153, 186, 259, 260, 286, 287, 296, 306, 318 and 320.

Estimates range from £200-300 (lot 39) to £25,000-35,000 (lot 287).

[Prices realized including 25% buyer's premium shown in bold.]
Islands, Parliamentary Paper with Map (39) £1,500, Armitage, Two Years in the Antarctic (44) £1,500; Bagshawe, Two Men in the Antarctic (61) £2,000; Bayliss and Cumpston, Handbook … and Map (90) £9,375; Bernacchi, To the South Polar Regions (120, 121) £5,000, £3,500; Borchgrevink, First on the Antarctic Continent (152) £1,375; Borchgrevink, Report on the Collections of Natural History (153) £875; Bruce, Voyage of the Scotia (186) £2,375; Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World (259, 260) £4,000, £3,750; and several Cook lots (286 £92,500, 287 £27,500, 296 £8,125, 306 £16,250, 318 £4,750 and 320 £30,000).

(11 March 2014)

UPDATE: Michael Rosove reports on the sale in an e-mail:
"I just returned to the hotel from Sotheby's for the first of four installments of the Franklin Brooke-Hitching sales. The venue on New Bond Street is elegant, quite right for a sale of this kind. There were about 45 booksellers and collectors on hand, plus about ten Sotheby's representatives assisting the auctioneer and handling the telephone and internet bidders. The sale took place in the book room. Those present included Stuart Leggatt, Cameron Treleaven, John Simper, Barbara Grigor-Taylor, Hugh Bett, Anthony Payne, John Bonham, Richard Kossow, others whom I'm overlooking at the moment, and Franklin himself. Estimated values on the 350 lots were deliberately set low, thus virtually every lot garnered multiple bids (only a few passed), and the auctioneer could not do better than 60 lots per hour. So it was a long day, and the 'lunch hour' was shortened to about 20 minutes."
The total sale fetched £2,365,706 including the buyer's premium. The highest priced lot: No. 317, £182,500 (Cook's 'Tapa Cloth' catalogue); the lowest priced lot: No. 40, £163 (Aram, 'History of Thomas Aram'). Only six lots went unsold.

(31 March 2014)


To be held Thursday 10 October 2013, Christie's South Kensington, London. 10:30 am.

The Polar section of the sale consists of Lots 78 through 93. The prices shown in bold include the buyer's premium.
79. An association copy of Scott's 'Voyage of the Discovery,' presentation inscription to Hugh Robert Mill, the librarian of the RGS and biographer of Shackleton. Sadly, the condition isn't good which is probably why SPRI is dumping it (although there might have been an interim owner). Estimate: £1,000-1,500. £1,250

81, 82 and 83. 'The South Polar Times,' 3 vols. The first lot is a copy in dustwrappers which accounts for it's high estimate (£15,000-20,000). The second is at £5,000-8,000. The third is at £3,000-5,000. An opportunity to stock up! Lots 82 and 83 DID NOT SELL. Lot 81 £15,000

84. Edition de Luxe of Shackleton's 'The Heart of the Antarctic.' 3 vols with The Antarctic Book (estimate: £8,000-12,000). And 85, 'The Antarctic Book' only (estimate: £3,500-4,500). £18,750 (In 1971 I purchased a copy of 'The Antarctic Book' from Frank Hammond nr Birmigham. It cost me £95. I missed out on two copies of the entire three volumes at around $400 or so at a Parke-Bernet sale back in the 1970s. Too bad. I eventually found the first two volumes without the third and snapped it up at $1,550 from Buddenbrooks in Boston, and so married them together. Not as good as $400 for all three but better than £15,000-20,000!) £10,625
Lot 80: A Wilson watercolor (19 February 1904) 'Terra Nova' and the 'Morning' with Mt. Discovery on the horizon. Seems a fair estimate but pretty small in size and most of the time Wilson's work looks better in the catalogue than in the flesh. Estimate: £3,000-5,000. DID NOT SELL

Lot 87: We've seen this before in the salerooms: The Bill of Sale for the 'Nimrod'. Estimate: £3,000-5,000. DID NOT SELL

Lot 89: A TLS from Teddy Evans to the Underwood Typewriter Company. Could this refer to the typewriter that Cherry used for Vols. 3 and 4 of 'The South Polar Times' or the one that the Northern Party took to Cape Adare and turned out its single issue of the 'Adelie Mail/Cape Adare Times'? Estimate: £700-1,000. DID NOT SELL

Lot 93: "an exceptionally fresh, clean copy in the very rare dust-jacket" of 'Two Men in the Antarctic' by Bagshawe. Estimate: £600-800. £750
(21 September 2013)

WOOLEY & WALLIS Silver & Collector's Items

To be held Wednesday 23 January 2013. 51-61 Castle Street, Salisbury, Wilts. 10 am.
Web: Lot 894

This auction house in Salisbury was kind enough to send on its handsome catalogue for a two-day sale next month. Most lots are silver—and if you like silver there are some very nice opportunities here—but there's one polar lot, hence my being sent the catalogue. Sadly, it's an Arctic item not Antarctic. Being mono-polar, I would have no personal interest in this lot, but as a treat for my bi-polar friends I include it here. It is Lot 894: A Victorian silver freedom casket modelled as a loaded sledge, Hartmann and Bauscher, London, 1876. Estimate: £1,000-1,500. Based on the photograph it looks very nice and desirable to me. Franklin Search collectors should be interested. Full description and photograph at the link given above.
(30 December 2012)

RESULTS: Hammer price: £ 11,000!


To be held Tuesday (4 December 2012). London, Knightsbridge. Sale 19952.
11am. Montpelier Square, Knightsbridge.

This is a continuation of the successful March 30th polar sale (see below). There are 92 Antarctic lots, a combination of books, artifacts, silver, art and photographs. Among those that caught my eye:
Lot 48. A watercolor by Burn Murdoch showing three whalers, icebergs and penguins done during the Dundee Whaling Expedition, 1892-93. Estimate: £1,000-1,500. [£1,125]

Lot 62. Reginald Koettlitz' sledge flag from the Discovery expedition. Estimate: £15,000-20,000 (the highest estimate among the Antarctic lots). [Did not sell]

Lot 64. A presentation copy of The Voyage of the Discovery, signed by Scott "with best wishes" to Koettlitz. The condition, however, is wanting. Estimate: £5,000-7,000. [£5,625]

Lot 66. A large collection of mostly letters, several very long with much detail, from Louis Bernacchi and to him from Clements Markham and William Colbeck. Also documents relating to the silver sledge presented to Markham. The description of the lot goes on for three pages. Estimate: £8,000-12,000. [£13,750, the highest for any Antarctic lot.]

Lot 69. Three photo albums from John Morrison featuring upwards of 250 images recording the two voyages of S. Y. Morning. (Morrison was the chief engineer.) Estimate: £6,000-8,000. [Did not sell]

Lot 117A. A watercolor of the Terra Nova returning to Lyttelton with ensign at half mast, by C.A. Dunn. Estimate: £1,000-1,500. [£6,000, quite a bit over the estimate.]

(16 November 2012)

The results, including buyers premium, are shown above after each lot.

A friend who attended the sale had this to say:
"I have just been to the Bonhams sale…everything went for a song…I can't believe how prices have dropped (except the Wilson watercolour—not a particularly interesting scene and not in brilliant condition, went for £6,200 hammer price)…I should have bid for the Cherrys…£1300 hammer price for the two!"
(4 December 2012)

CHRISTIE'S TRAVEL, SCIENCE AND NATURAL HISTORY. The Polar Sale, Marking the Centenary of Scott's Last Expedition, 1912-2012 (Lots 76-163)

To be held Tuesday 9 October 2012, Christie's South Kensington, London. 10 am.

I've not received the catalogue yet but it is up on Christie's website and the polar section was e-mailed to me by Seamus Taaffe.
(7 September 2012)

The Polar section of the sale consists of Lots 76 through 163. A fair number of the lots are ones that were in previous Christie's sales.

Lot 101 is a typescript of Brocklehurst's Nimrod journal which includes some photographs, stamps, etc. Estimate £20,000-30,000. DID NOT SELL. Quite a few Ponting photographs.

Lot 139, Tryggve Gran's camera which took the iconic photo of the cairn at the final camp. Estimate £10,000-15,000. DID NOT SELL.

Lot 145, a very nice set of the South Polar Times in dustjackets. Estimate £20,000-30,000. DID NOT SELL.

(And Lot 146, a second set without the dustjackets; estimate £6,000-9,000. DID NOT SELL.)

Lot 140, the star of the sale—and with the highest estimate—is a collection of 28 Cherry-Garrard letters to his mother, ca. 140 pages. Estimate £50,000-80,000. Sold for £67,250 including the buyer's premium, which was the highest price of the polar lots.

The second highest (Lot 91) at £37,250 was Captain Scott's marching compass used on both Discovery and Terra Nova expeditions.

The third highest was Lot 102, Shackleton's sledge harness which fetched £17,500.

Fully 30% of the lots did not sell. A year ago, at the same sale, the corresponding figure was 68% (of the Antarctic lots) sold, so this is an improvement, I guess. Half of the lots unsold were printed books.

(4 and 10 October 2012)


Bonham's is preparing a one-day polar sale on 30 March 2012 "in London to coincide with the centenary of the Scott's last diary entry…Half the day will be pure Scott, and the other half will be general Antarctica." Tom Lamb (at Christie's, then Bloomsbury's New York office, and now Bonham's is the one putting it together).
A copy of the Aurora Australis will apparently be in the sale.
(7 December 2011)

catalogue is now up on Bonham's website but the hard copy is yet to show up. There are some very nice lots in the sale, many from the collection of Marty Greene of Seattle. Included is his Aurora Australis with a nice estimate of £60,000-80,000. There are a total of 222 lots both Scott and Amundsen related.
The sale begins at 2pm on 30 March 2012 at Bonhams Knightsbridge.
Once the hard copy of the catalogue arrives I'll add some of the highlights.
—R. Stephenson
(6 March 2012)

UPDATE: The catalogue has arrived, a very nice production that is worth the cost just as a reference source. The catalogue is subtitled: Scott & Amundsen Centenary (129 of the lots have some association with Scott; 10 with Amundsen). The lots are arranged chronolgically from Bellingshausen to Alfred Ritscher. My counting yields the following number of lots: Books 93; Photographs 41; Letters and MSS 25; Silver 9; Art 9; Prints 4; Ephemera 4; Crockery 3; Maps 3; Meals 3; Log Books 3; Philatelic 1 and Miscellaneous 23. Quite a good mix and variety. As noted above, many of the books were consigned by Martin Greene and many of these are very interesting association copies. Many highpoints are included as well as titles that one would consider as standard for an Antarctic collection. The ones that caught my eye:
15. Dumont D'Urville (Jules Sebastian Cesar) Voyage au Pole Sud et dan l'Océanie sur les corvettes l'Astrolabe et la Zélée. Estimate: £40,000-60,000. You don't often see these magnificent 30 volumes come up at auction. DID NOT SELL

16 and 17. Two watercolors with scenes from Ross' voyage by John Edward Davis, author of the rare Letter from the Antarctic. SPRI has several of his other watercolors from this expedition so it would be a logical destination for these. Other Davis' watercolors were in the April 1997 Christies sale (Lot 95, £9.775), September 1998 sale (Lot 178, £11,500), September 1999 sale (Lot 177, £5,750), September 2006 sale (Lot 152, £4,800 and Lot 153, £4,800). Estimates £3,000-5,000 and £8,000-12,000. £16,250 £10,000

37. Catalogue of Books of the "Discovery." Charles Royds' heavily annotated copy of the catagloue of books taken on the Discovery. Only a handful of copies survive. Estimate £3,000-4,000. The following lot—38—is a copy Matthew Arnold's Poetical Works, listed in the catalogue, inscribed by Hartley Ferrar to Mary Hardy. DID NOT SELL

52 and 186. South Polar Times. 3 volumes. Estimates £10,000-15,000 and £20,000-30,000. (The latter lot belonged to Scott and his wife.) DID NOT SELL

72. Aurora Australis The keystone book for any Antarctic collection. See for extensive informaton on this the first book written, illustrated, bound and issued in the Antarctic. Estimate £60,000-80,000. (If it fetches the estimate it will be highest price yet paid for a copy.) DID NOT SELL

117. The Worst Journey in the World. An exceptionally nice copy in the original dust-jackets of Cherry-Garrard's classic Antarctic book on Scott's Last Expedition. Estimate £8,000-12,000. The following lot—118—is another copy being a presentation copy to Kathleen Scott with her marginal notations. Estimate £15,000-20,000. £23,750

140. George Levick's autograph manuscript "describing the plight of the Northern Party." Estimate £20,000-30,000. DID NOT SELL

171. Capt. Scott's autograph farewell letter to Sir Edgar Speyer, dated 16 March, 4 pages. Described as "aguably the finest Antarctic association item to have ever come to auction." Its provenance is interesting: Speyer's widow gave it to Richard Byrd at a dinner in his honor in New York in 1935. (One might ask why?) It sold at a Sotheby's sale in 1988 and then or later ended up with Richard Manney. I would think that there would be an effort to purchase this for the British Library or SPRI. Estimate £100,000-150,000, highest estimate in the sale. £163,250

192. Edward A. Wilson. Watercolor of "an Antarctic vista with Emperor penguins in the foreground." The catalogue illustration shows this as an attractive work by Wilson although I often find that catalogue images of Wilson watercolors often look better than the real thing. Estimate £4,000-6,000. £6,875

208. Ernest Shackleton. South. A very nice association copy inscribed to Frank Worsley, "Wuzzles." Estimate £8,000-10,000. £22,500

219. Little America Times, edited by August Horowitz. 18 issues from 1933-35 from Byrd's second expedition. I'm drawn to expedition publications so I'm tempted, up to a point, in this lot. Estimate £4,000-5,000. DID NOT SELL

222. Alfred Ritscher Deutsche Antarktische Expedition 1938/39 Complete with the stereo glasses. Estimate £1,500-2,000. I suppose a collector of Nazi material will go for this one. £3,750
The prices realized above include the buyers premium.
Buyers premium of 25% up to £25,000
—R. Stephenson
(18 March 2012)

UPDATE: I'm awaiting some first-hand reports. One bidder (successful on one lot) said "from what I could tell the several times I was eavesdropping on the telephone, ordinary items did respectably well while very good lots did exceptionally well."
40 of the 222 lots went unsold; that's 18%. The lot that fetch the most by far, as predicted, was 171, Capt. Scott's autograph farewell letter to Sir Edgar Speyer (£163,250 including the buyers premium), near the high estimate. The second highest—at £22,500 was lot 208, Shackleton's South signed by Worsley, about twice the estimate.
—R. Stephenson
(30 March 2012)

UPDATE: I'm told by a London bookseller that the Aurora got up to £50,000 but that wasn't enough and it wasn't sold. He said the room was absolutely filled up and that although some lots were bought in the room, much of the activity was by phone and internet. The Scott letter (Lot 171, £163,250) was bought by an English private collector, first name Gloria. I find this a little surprising as I would have thought it would have been bought "for the nation."
—R. Stephenson
(4 April 2012)

UPDATE: John Bonham reports that "The sale was fairly buoyant and nearly all the ephemera items did well, especially programmes which sold for extravagant prices. The signed Shackleton to Wuzzles made £18,000, quite a result. The Ponting photos sold well with prices from 4 to 12 thousand. Plates and silver did very well and the Cherry-Garrard in dustwrapper sold for £19,000 (amazing as it was not a signed copy). Pictures also 'flew away'. … Nearly all of Martin's books sold and most at retail prices. The Aurora and his South Polar Times failed but I am checking this week to see if Bonhams has managed to sell them after the sale. The Scott letter made £135,000 which was by far the best item in the sale. It sold to a flamboyant Middle Aged Blonde in the front row."
—R. Stephenson
(8 April 2012)


To be held Sunday 11 December 2011, Medina Grand Adelaide Treasury Hotel, 2 Flinders St (cnr King William St), Adelaide, South Australia. 1:30pm. On view: Friday 9th 1pm-7pm; Saturday 10th 10am-5pm; Sunday 11th 11am-1pm.
Conducted by Michael Treloar, Antiquarian Books, GPO Box 2289, Adelaide, SA 5001, 196 North Terrace, Adelaide. Tel: +61 8 8223 1111.

This sale has some quite interesting polar (arctic and antarctic) items including photograph albums (lots 12-38). Many of them have Mawson associations which is appropriate the sale being in Adelaide. Here are some that caught my eye (16.5% buyer's premium):
19. ROSS, Sir James Clark (1800-1962). Letter dated 1852 signed by Ross to Alexander Smith. Ross cannot assist him with a promotion, nor with his logs; some discussion about land Ross owns at Van Diemen's Land. Estimate: AUD2000-3000. RESULTS: AUD2,330.

20. DAVIS, John Edward (1815-1877) A long letter down memory lane in 1872 to Alexander Smith, his shipmate from the 1839-43 Antarctic expedition on Erebus and Terror. Estimate: AUD2000-3000. (Davis wrote A Letter from the Antarctic, London: William Clowes & Sons. Ltd, 1901, among the rarest of Antarctic publications.) RESULTS: AUD1,980.50

21. MARKHAM, Sir Clements (1830-1916) A lengthy autograph draft manuscript Proposal for an Antarctic Manual [1899], with a 1903 typed covering letter signed by Professor J.W. Gregory. Estimate: AUD6000-8000. (Keep an eye on this one: it could be an important item.) RESULTS: Did not sell.

22. MARKHAM, Sir Clements (1830-1916) A lengthy and strongly-worded 1908 autograph letter signed to Robert Falcon Scott, in response to a critical review of the meteorological volume of the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-04. Estimate: AUD4000-6000. RESULTS: Did not sell.

33. [Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-14]. HURLEY, Frank (1885-1962) Midwinter Dinner. Winter Quarters, Commonwealth Bay, Adelie Land. An elaborate menu to celebrate 21 June 1912. Photographically produced by Hurley, based on two of his photographs, and bound in recycled packing case boards hinged with fur-covered leather. From the personal collection of Sir Douglas Mawson, leader of the expedition, with his initials on the front cover. Estimate: AUD15,000-20,000. (This lot appeals to me because of similarities to the printing done at Cape Royds during the Nimrod expedition, i.e. the Aurora Australis and menus.) RESULTS: AUD18,057.50

34. [Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-14]. HURLEY, Frank (1885-1962) An album of 28 vintage photographs (each 150 x 245 mm) and a photographic birthday card menu, all printed at the Winter Quarters, Commonwealth Bay, Adelie Land, and presented to Douglas Mawson on his 30th birthday, 5 May 1912. From the personal collection of Sir Douglas Mawson, leader of the expedition. Estimate: AUD60,000-80,000. (The highest estimate of any polar lot.) RESULTS: Did not sell.

35. [British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition, 1929-31]. HURLEY, Frank (1885-1962) An album of 59 vintage photographs (41 are 190 x 250 mm, 18 are panoramas 245 x 85 mm or the reverse); a comprehensive pictorial record of the first voyage, from Cape Town in October 1929 to Proclamation Island on 13 January 1930. From the personal collection of Sir Douglas Mawson, leader of the expedition. Estimate: AUD25,000-35,000. RESULTS: Did not sell.

36. [BANZARE, 1929-31]. HURLEY, Frank (1885-1962) A vintage self-portrait (250 x 195 mm) turned into a lobby card for Southward Ho! with Mawson, the movie documenting the first of the two BANZARE voyages. Inscribed and signed by Hurley on board SY Discovery, 22 November 1930, the day the ship sailed from Hobart on the second leg of the expedition. Estimate: AUD2000-3000. RESULTS: AUD4,495
(30 November 2011)


To be held Thursday 29 September 2011, London, South Kensington. Sale 2362.

UPDATE: The catalogue has arrived. The Antarctic lots are 136-166. The highest estimate—£10,000-15,000—is for Lot 141, the Harbord items described below.

The catalogue is at:
(10 September 2011)

RESULTS: Only 21 of the 31 Antarctic lots sold. The Skelton photographs (Lot 139) were among those lots not sold as was the deluxe edition of The Heart of the Antarctic, estimate £4,000-6,000. Scott's pocket diary fetched the highest price among the Antarctic lots: £27.500 against an estimate of £6,000-10,000. The Harbord journals (Lot 141), estimated at £10,000-15,000, brought a respectable £26,250 including the buyer's premium.

In recent years there's been an Exploration & Travel sale at King Street with a siginificant polar component. Not this year. Unable to put together a large number of lots, Christie's has decided to include what they have in the Travel, Science & Natural History sale at the South Kensington rooms. According to Nick Lambourn, the "sale includes a little gem—Scott's pocket diary for 1910, Harbord's typed Nimrod journals—both from the families, and some nice contact prints from Skelton—Discovery and relief expeditions . Probably about 25 Antarctic lots. Catalogue online at a month prior to sale."
SCOTT, Robert Falcon (1868-1912). Scott's pocket diary for 1910, an 'Army & Navy Thin Pocket Diary', ownership inscription on title (`Captain Robert F. Scott. RN &c / 36-38 Victoria St. / Westminster / SW'), brief entries in pen and pencil for c.116 days between 4 December 1909 and 12 July 1910, addresses and lists of names on concluding leaves, a typed leaf 'Approximate Programme of "Terra Nova's" movements' ('Leave London June 1st…Leave Lyttelton Novr. 15th'), with four autograph emendations, inserted in pocket inside upper cover, small 8vo (122 x 90mm), green roan; [with] a gentleman's wallet, exterior black leather, lining tan leather, stamped on upper cover with initials `R.S.', silver corner-pieces (tarnished, scuffed), visiting card of Viscount Knutsford loosely inserted, inscribed 'This book [sic] belonged to Capt Scott of S. Polar fame & was given to me by his son Peter'; [and] a portrait print of Scott, n.d. [after 1912], copyright Maull & Fox, 187 Piccadilly, facsimile signature, 497 x 359mm (soiled).

Scott's pocket diary for his last months in England offers a vivid, though elliptical, insight into the frantic pace of preparations for the Terra Nova expedition, with which almost all the entries are in some way concerned. The earliest, for 4 December 1909, notes `Interview Drs Wilson & Atkinson'; on 20 December, 'Wilson with Candidates'; other appointments as the months go by include practical meetings at the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions, the Admiralty and the R.G.S.; his departure for Norway is noted on 26 February, where on 1 March he is to 'Go to furs people & sledges'. Many of the entries reflect Scott's preoccupation with the financing of the expedition, which takes him on tours to Middlesbrough, Manchester, Liverpool and elsewhere, and the necessary round of dinners, lectures and press calls. As the date of the expedition's departure approaches, on 27 April he notes 'Medical Exam: for Officers', on 7 May 'Ship including experiments' and on 26 May 'Huntley & Palmers Directors visit Ship'; on 7 June he notes 'Leave for Cardiff'. Amongst the last entries are a series of valedictory audiences: 25 June 'Audience Queen Alexandra', 5 July '11.0 Audience H.M. The King' and 12 July 'Prime Minister'(?). Among the concluding memoranda are a few notes of addresses of expedition members, suppliers and others, and scattered memoranda, including 'send Wilson "Scurvy"' and the poignant 'After the expedition a list of firms whose goods were taken and were found to be thoroughly satisfactory will be published'.

Scott left England for the last time on 16 July, rejoining the Terra Nova in Cape Town.

Harbord's typed Nimrod journals:

HARBORD, Arthur Edward (1883-1961). 'The voyage of the "Nimrod" to the Antarctic, and return. British Antarctic Expedition 1907', typed transcripts of his journals, comprising:
Journal for 1 January 23 February 1908, typescript in blue ink, emendations and cancellations in manuscript, title and 27 pages, 4to, single-spaced, numbered 1-28 (lacking p.2, three sets of staple holes at upper margin, causing some rust stains; creased, worn, torn with losses to pp.1, 27 and 28, lower portion of p.7 neatly removed), with two transcripts of the same, the first up to 9 February, typescript in purple ink, lightly revised, 13 pages, folio, single-spaced, numbered (minor tears, lacking p.9), the second up to 5 February, typescript in black ink, extensively revised, 36 pages, 4to, double-spaced, numbered (lacking pp.13-14).
Journal for 20 December 1908 5 March 1909, typescript in purple ink, occasional cancellations and emendations, 60 pages, 4to, double-spaced, numbered, green paper covers (covers heavily worn, last five leaves loose and rather worn), with a transcript of the same up to 26 December 1908, typescript in black ink, four pages, 4to, double-spaced, numbered 1-6 (lacking pp.3-4; soiled, creased); with four related manuscripts, comprising: 'A Pedestrian Tour', typescript in purple ink, beginning 'The morning of June 18th, 1908. filled us with disappointment ', one page, folio, single-spaced (torn, soiled, imperfect); a single manuscript leaf, a fragment of a description of life in winter quarters, on paper with printed heading of 'British Antarctic Expedition 1907'; 'Copy of [Aeneas Mackintosh's] Diary of Journey from Cape Bird to Cape Royds', 3-9 January 1909, typescript in blue ink, 18 pages, 4to, numbered 1-19 (lacking p.10, imperfect at end), with a possibly related leaf, unnumbered; and a later typed transcript of the same (dated 1963).

Harbord was second officer and navigator on Nimrod, becoming chief officer on the return voyage. His journals are a vivid description of incidents in the shipboard part of the expedition, beginning with the Nimrod's departure from Lyttelton and the miseries of the voyage south ('Really the movements of the Nimrod are beyond even the most fertile imagination'), culminating in the arrival in the pack ice, and the first view of the Barrier: 'It appeared first in the shape of a mirage, and up above the horizon we could see that towering wall of ice which guards the secrets of the South from ships'. Once established at McMurdo Sound, Harbord recounts the amusements of the first encounters with penguins, quoting a turn of phrase by Aeneas Mackintosh, 'If you see a man in evening dress in a large ball-room, who has just become the possessor of the startling news that his braces have broken, and is hurriedly making for the nearest door, there you have the penguin walking', and the various incidents of the unloading, including the accident which led to the loss of Mackintosh's eye. The first journal ends mid-phrase on 9 February. The second journal opens with the Nimrod's sighting of pack ice on her return south at the end of 1908, and recounts the difficult `game of ice navigation' on the return to McMurdo Sound, as well as the departure and belated return of Mackintosh's sledging trip to Cape Royds (a miniature epic described in the extracts from Mackintosh's journal included in the lot). From late January onwards, the journal is much concerned with the anxious wait for the return of Shackleton and the Southern Party, and the successful recovery of Edgeworth David and his Northern Party ('The Professor was as one dazed, and all of them had suffered greatly from the terrible ordeals through which they had gone Mawson's words were very expressive as he saw a piece [of] cake on the side board. He put out his hand for it and uttered the two words "My God" '). A final, long entry on 5 March recounts the dramatic last-minute sighting a week previously of Shackleton and Wild from the Southern Party, just as dispositions were being made for leaving a relief party to wait for them at Hut Point, and the frantic preparations for departure; the journal ends mid-sentence as Nimrod begins to fight her way out of the pack ice.

Harbord's navigation workbook for the expedition is in the SPRI, MS 483; the present transcript journal is cited by Riffenburgh (2005); Harbord's original journals are untraced.
(8 August 2011)


To be held Thursday 10 March 2011, Pacific Book Auction Galleries, 133 Kearny Street, 4th Floor San Francisco, CA 94108 USA. Sale No 449

One item of Antarctic interest: Lot 120, John Marra Cook's 2nd voyage.
Marra, John]. Journal of the Resolution's Voyage, in 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775. On Discovery to the Southern Hemisphere, by which the Non-Existence of an Undiscovered Continent, between the Equator and the 50th Degree of Southern Latitude, is Demonstratively Proved. Also a Journal of the Adventure's Voyage, in the Years 1772, 1773, and 1774. With an Account of the Separation of the Two Ships, and the Most Remarkable Incidents that Befel each... (London: Printed for F. Newbery, 1775)
xiii, [1], 328 pp. With copper-engraved folding chart of the track of the Resolution as frontispiece; 5 copper-engraved plates; extra-illustrated with an additional folding copper-engraved chart, as occasionally occurs with this book. (8vo) 20.5x12.5 cm. (8x5"), period calf, spine ruled in gilt, raised bands, morocco lettering piece. First Edition, First Issue.
First printed account of James Cook's second voyage, published "anonymously and surreptitiously" eighteen months before Cook's official narrative, of great rarity. As Spence notes, it is the "first printed account of man's entry into the region South of the Antarctic Circle, and his observations thereupon." Marra, an Irish gunner's mate who Cook picked up in Batavia, seems to have been fairly illiterate, but the account benefits from a competent ghost writer, likely David Henry, who was in charge of Gentleman's Magazine. As Hill elaborates, the book "records many incidents omitted by Cook, and gives the reasons which caused Sir Joseph Banks and his twelve assistants to withdraw from the expedition at the last moment...." He also gives some account of the benefits of their diet in keeping the crew relatively scurvy-free (only one of the 118 men on the voyage died of disease), with the addition of various "wholesome plants" and pickled cabbage. This is the first issue, with D2 uncancelled. The extra map, bound in before p.1, is titled "Part of the Tropical Discoveries of the Resolution Sloop Captain J. Cook in 1774," showing New Caledonia, the Great Cyclades, New Hebrides, etc., by T. Bowen. Du Rietz remarks that it "was apparently inserted by the publisher in some unsold copies during the latter half of 1776; today it is to be found in very few copies only..." Du Rietz 809; Hill II:1087; Holmes 16; Sabin 16247; Spence 758; Streeter Sale 2408. Inscription on front free endpaper verso reads "Jane and Gerard Stick to their beloved friend Castinelli. Leghorn 13th of January 1812."

Joints cracked but cords still holding, chipping to spine strip near foot, wear to front cover at upper left; frontispiece map ill-creased, mild toning to paper, slight offset from plates, still in very good or better condition, quite clean internally, in nice, unsophisticated state.

Estimate: $7,000-10,000.
RESULTS: $6,600 which includes the 20% buyer's premium.

(9 March 2011)


To be held Tuesday 29 March 2011, 10:30am. 101 New Bond Street, London. Sale No. 19,386

Only three Antarctic lots:
375. Antarctic Postal History British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913, Scott's Last Expedition. Fine examples of the New Zealand 1/2d green and 1d red adhesive stamps, each attached to separate bifoliar sheets of the Expedition's official octavo notepaper bearing the engraved penguin symbol in a roundel at the head of each, each separately overprinted 'VICTORIA LAND' in two lines in black by the Government Printer in Wellington, New Zealand, in excellent condition tied by the Expedition's canceller and postmarked 18 January 1913.
Estimate: £600-800. RESULTS: Did not sell.

386. MARKHAM, Sir CLEMENTS ROBERT (1830-1916, promoter of Antarctic exploration) SERIES OF FOURTEEN AUTOGRAPH LETTERS SIGNED ('Clements R Markham'), to Frank Martin-Leake, a young naval officer and the first volunteer for the Discovery Expedition, making a number of references to his own efforts to raise an Antarctic expedition which he hopes Martin-Leake will be asked to join, generally advising him on his naval career in the surveying service and on the China station and discussing his own editorial work on a Naval Records Society volume - the Journal of Captain Martin - with which he helped Markham, 30 pages, octavo, two small holes at the head of one letter, mostly from 21 Eccleston Square, one from Alton in Hampshire and one from Paris, 1890-1901.
Clements Markham, President of the Royal Geographical Society, was a strong advocate of a British Antarctic expedition and especially of Captain Scott. It was as a result of his efforts that the Discovery Expedition sailed in 1901, with Markham himself drawing up the instructions for the officers and men under Scott's command. The present letters reveal something of his vision for the Antarctic expedition as it took shape in the 1890s. He was against use of dogs and skis. A homosexual, he cultivated young lieutenants and midshipmen and kept meticulous notes of the hundreds of naval officers he met.

'...Wooden ships will certainly by (sic) necessary for the Antarctic Expedition, on account of the magnetic observations and also because iron ships are no good in the ice. A strong resolution was passed in favour of an expedition by the International Geographical Congress...I intend to summon a Committee to decide upon the way of approaching the Government...'

'...I cannot yet judge whether this Government will be better than the last, as regards the Antarctic question. Both sides are a half educated lot barely knowing the difference between the pole and the equator. So that the principal hope of success will be from the advocacy of the newspapers...there is no chance of a Government Antarctic Expedition: owing to the pressing need of placing the navy on a more effective war footing...'

'A scheme has been got up for sending a vessel to the Antarctic seas on a whaling venture; and Mr Borchgrevink is to go with it...Their plan is to travel over the ice on Norwegian "ski" or shoe shoes. It is a foolish scheme, and Brochgrevink is such a howling cad that it is quite out of the question for you to think of serving under him...'

'...I was very sorry that your appointment did not come off. Scott had many volunteers, and at last decided on Armitage for Navigator on account of his considerable Arctic experience, more especially of winters. I know he would have liked to have had you, and hesitated for a long time. It seems hard when you were the very first volunteer...Royds and Barne are the two young Lieuts in the "Discovery", and a young R.N.R. man named Shackleton a first rate chap. Skelton, the engineer, is also naval, and there are 28 naval A.Bs, Petty Officers, Stokers and 2 Marines. So that it is a thoroughly naval expedition...'

Frank Martin-Leake (1869-1928), became a Vice-Admiral and commanded H.M.S. Achilles in the Grand Fleet during the First World War.
Estimate: £1,000-1,200. RESULTS: £1,200 which includes the 20% buyer's premium.

393. SHACKLETON, Sir ERNEST HENRY (1874-1922, Antarctic explorer) PHOTOGRAPH OF THE LAUNCH OF THE BOAT JAMES CAIRD FROM ELEPHANT ISLAND BY FRANK HURLEY (1885-1967), the Expedition's official photographer, vintage photograph, carbon print, THE MOUNT INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY ERNEST SHACKLETON: 'Start of our 750 mile boat journey for help: boat 22 feet long. E Shackleton', framed and glazed, size of photograph 5-1/2 x 7-3/4 inches (14 x 19 cm), size of original mount 9-1/2 x 12 inches (24 x 31 cm), overall size 15 x 17-3/4 inches (38 x 45 cm), taken on Elephant Island, 24 April 1916.
THIS PHOTOGRAPH WITH ITS INSCRIPTION BY SHACKLETON IS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PICTORIAL ITEMS RELATING TO ANTARCTIC EXPLORATION TO BE OFFERED FOR SALE. It shows the beginning of one of the most extraordinary, harrowing and heroic journeys in the history of exploration. The photograph is mounted on a page identical to those seen in Hurley's special presentation albums.

Shackleton described the launch of the James Caird in his account of the expedition, South: 'Then we pushed off for the last time, and within a few minutes I was aboard the James Caird. The crew of the Stancomb Wills shook hands with us as the boats bumped together and offered us the last good wishes. Then, setting our jib, we cut the painter and moved away to the northeast. The men who were staying behind made a pathetic little group on the beach [also photographed by Hurley, from behind], with the grim heights of the island behind them and the sea seething at their feet, but they waved to us and gave three hearty cheers. There was hope in their hearts and they trusted us to bring the help they needed. I had all sails set, and the James Caird quickly dipped the beach and its line of dark figures. The westerly wind took us rapidly to the line of the pack..."alone, alone, all, all alone, alone on a wide, wide sea..."'

On 5 December 1914 Shackleton and his team, the Imperial Trans-Atlantic Expedition, had set out from South George in the ship the Endurance to cross the South Polar continent from sea to sea, what he called 'the first crossing of the last continent.' On 24 January 1915 the Endurance became locked in an ice pack and drifted 570 miles in 281 days. Under constant pressure from the ice floes the decks finally began to buckle and on 27 October the ship was abandoned. On 21 November 1915 she sank. On 15 April 1916 the crew arrived on Elephant Island after 497 days at sea and on the ice. Only ten days later, on 24 April, Shackleton and five men [McNeish, McCarthy, Vincent, Worsley and Crean] set out in the twenty-two-foot-long and six-foot-three-inch-wide weather-beaten ordinary whaler James Caird for South Georgia 800 miles away to bring a relief party. After the most incredible journey, dramatically related by Shackleton in South, surviving one wave so high that at first they mistook its crest for clear sky on the horizon in addition to constant pounding by lesser waves, they landed on South Georgia on 10 May. They still had to reach Leith Harbour, only 29 miles away in a straight line, but across the most untraversable interior of the island (which was to be crossed only for the second time in 1955 by a well equipped party of expert climbers) - Shackleton had only a 50-foot length of rope. They reached Stromness Whaling Station on 20 May. On 30 August Shackleton rescued the 22 castaways on Elephant Island.

Three days before leaving Elephant Island Shackleton gave the following letter to Hurley: '...In the event of my not surviving the boat journey to South Georgia I here instruct Frank Hurley to take complete charge & responsibility for exploitation of all films & photographic reproductions of all films & negatives taken on this Expedition the aforesaid films & negatives to become the property of Frank Hurley after due exploitation, in which, the moneys to be paid to my executors will be according to the contract made at the start of the expedition...' At the same time he said to Hurley: ' I think it right that you stay with the expedition. In some ways you "are" the expedition. I don't know what our chances are in the Caird; evens at best, I suspect. If we die, then what we've done lies with you and your pictures. You are our story. If I don't come back, I want to make sure there's someone there to tell it...'
Estimate: £12,000-18,000. RESULTS: £21,600 which includes the 20% buyer's premium.
(3 March 2011 and 27 June 2011)


To be held Tuesday 22 March 2011, 2pm. 101 New Bond Street, London. Sale No. 18,784

Lots 4-10 are of Antarctic interest:

4. Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition, a view of the Aurora loading fuel whilst docked in Cardiff. Estimate: £800-1,000. RESULTS: £1,080 which includes the 20% buyer's premium.

5. Ponting (Herbert G.) "The Terra Nova (Manning the Pumps During a Gale in the Antarctic Ocean)" Estimate: £1,500-2,000. RESULTS: £4,080 which includes the 20% buyer's premium.

6. Ponting (Herbert G.) "Oates and Meares at the Blubber Stove in the Stables" Estimate: £400-600. RESULTS: £1,320 which includes the 20% buyer's premium.

7. Shackleton (Ernest) South. The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition 1914-1917. Estimate: £600-800. RESULTS: £1,560 which includes the 20% buyer's premium.

8. The South Polar Times, vol. 3 only, NUMBER 254 OF 350 COPIES. Estimate: £1,000-2,000. RESULTS: Did not sell.

9. [Ponting (Herbert G.)] Unloading coal from a sled at Winter Quarters, Cape Evans, during the Terra Nova expedition. Estimate: £1,500-2,000. RESULTS: £1,680 which includes the 20% buyer's premium.

10. Arctic. Crozier (Francis Rawdon Moira) A collection of 36 dried botanical specimens. [Although Arctic, Crozier was bi-polar.] Estimate: £2,000-4,000. RESULTS: £9,000 which includes the 20% buyer's premium.

(3 March 2011 and 27 June 2011)


To be held Friday 19 November 2010, Grand Venice Hotel, Hagerstown, MD.

"Friday's sale will feature a large group of photographica, cameras & images, including items from the Estate of Tom Clark, and historical ephemera and artifacts from Byrd's expedition to the Antarctic from the Estate of Naval photographer Richard Conger. There will be an online catalog for this 3-day event, coming soon."

I'll be putting up more about this sale in early November.
—R. Stephenson
(13 October 2010)


To be held Thursday 4 November 2010, New Bond Street, London.

Only three Antarctic lots:
13. Frank Hurley. A collection of 8 silver print photographs taken on the Endurance expedition. Estimate: £1,000-1,500. RESULTS: £4,250 including buyer's premium.
14. Herbert Ponting. Sixteen silver print photographs from Scott's Last Expedition. Estimate: £4,000-5,000. RESULTS: £5,000 including buyer's premium.
15. Sir Ernest Shackleton. The Heart of the Antarctic, edition deluxe, 3 volumes including the Antarctic Book. Estimate: £10,000-15,000. RESULTS: £11,250 including buyer's premium.
—Thanks to Greg Glade.
(12 October 2010)


To be held Wednesday 15 September 2010, New Bond Street, London. Sale L10405.

Sale No 17849. Web:

The first seven lots of this sale are Antarctic related: A Cherry-Garrard watercolor showing the Terra Nova beside the Barrier (estimate £2,000-3,000); a Ponting photograph of Dr Wilson (estimate £1,500-2,000); two, watercolors and a print by Wilson (estimates ranging from £300 to £3,000); a variety of objects from Wilson's family home (estimate £300-500); and a silver plate toast rack from the Terra Nova (estimate £1500-2000).
—R. Stephenson
(8 September 2010)

RESULTS: It appears that only two lots sold, Nos 2 and 5, both Edward Wilson items, the former a familiar Ponting photographic image (£2,800—above the high estimate); and the latter, a print (?) of Mt Erebus as £600, again above the estimate. (These prices include the 20% buyer's premium.)
—R. Stephenson
(30 September 2010)


To be held Wednesday 22 September 2010, King Street, London.

The Polar Sale, celebrating the Centenary of Scott's Last Expedition and featuring The Charles 'Silas' Wright Collection. Sale No 7869. Web:

My catalogue arrived today and it's the slimmest one ever for Christie's 'Exploraton & Travel' series, but if it's any consolation of the 178 lots, 128 are polar and 125 of these are south polar. The highlight of the sale is the Silas Wright collection (lots 107-68). Among the lots including those in the Wright collection: Letters (Scott, Wilson, Bowers, Oates, Atkinson, Priestley, Nelson, Keohane, Shackleton, Hooker), Scientific instruments (clinometer, thermometers, theodolite, compass, cameras, drawing instruments, sextant), Photographs (Ponting, Wright, Scott and Bowers, Hurley), Paintings and drawings (Wilson, Lillie, Cherry-Garrard, Marston, Royds), Books (South Polar Times, Heart of the Antarctic edition deluxe, South, Antarctic Days, Discovery Scientific Results, Discovery Reports, The Antarctic Manual, Scotia Scientific Results, Drygalski Reports), Journals (Levick's), artifacts (Wright's skis, Oates' sleeping bag cover, Scott's Union Jack, Keohane's sledge flag and model sledge, Mawson's specimen box, Ponting's camera, case and accessories), and Medals (Wright's). Also some charts and maps, some silver items, a diorama, a Shackleton scrapbook, some ephemera, a fossilised leaf.

The highest estimates are £25,000-35,000 (Keohane's sledge flag and Oates' sleeping bag cover), £30,000-50,000 (Wright's albums of his photographs), £40,000-60,000 (Murray Levick's journal—not the first time it's appeared in this sale series), £60,000-80,000 (Union Jack taken to the Antarctic by Scott on both of his expeditions), and finally by far the highest at £150,000-200,000 (Ponting's three master albums of contact prints).

—R. Stephenson
(26 August 2010)

RESULTS: This was an interesting sale, one, because the prices seemed pretty solid in places; and, two, there were a few confusing or incorrect descriptions, leading to the questions of who catalogued the sale and who proofread the catalogue.
A London friend described it thusly:
"Interesting times. I couldn't believe Cape Crozier [Lot 65, estimate £7-10,000] went for almost £14,000…it was in terrible condition! And Mount Erebus went for a fortune as well…nearly £12,000 with buyer's premium [Lot 87, estimate £3,000-5,000]…There seemed to be two buyers bidding against each other for a huge amount of the Wright stuff…photos, etc., and a buyer from Australia bidding online and scooping up loads. I have a feeling the bargain days are over!"
Well, I wouldn't call the past year or two 'bargain days' exactly.

Quite a few lots remained unsold (23 out of the 130 Antarctic lots). The highest price paid: The Ponting collection, 3 master albums of contact prints, sold with the premium for £169,250 (estimate: £150,000-200,00), and tied for second at £73,250: Lot 132 (Wright's photographs (estimate: £30,000-50,000) and Lot 175 (Scott's Union Jack (estimate: £60,000-80,000). (Prices include buyer's premium of 20-25%.)

Keohane's sleeping bag (Lot 99) fetched £1,375 against an estimate of £400-600, but Captain Oates' sleeping bag case remained unsold (estimate £25,000-30,000—far too high, I think; it should just be sent to the folks at SPRI so they'll have something appropriate in which to store the actual sleeping bag)!

Some other lots selling above, sometimes far above, their estimates: Mawson's specimen box (Lot 77) fetched £2,000 against an estmate of £400-600; Wright's glass plate negatives (Lot 133) £23,750 (£4,000-6,000); a selection of glass lantern slides (Lot 134) £27,500 (£4,000-6,000); a Ponting photographs album (Lot 139) £22,500 (£5,000-7,000); a fossilize leaf (Lot 155) £4,500 (£400-600); Wright's medals and decorations (Lot 164) £61,250 (£12,000-18,000); Bowers' photograph of Amundsen's tent (Lot 173) £8,750 (£1,500-2,000)

At least three oddities or errors were encountered without assiduous searching: Lot 57 (which I and a colleague had a shared interest in and which remained unsold) had the wrong items illustrated (being a related lot from a previous sale). Lot 151, the South Polar Times, is oddly described: Volumes I and II are "an exact reproduction of the original" and Volume III is "a facsimile of the 'magazine' edited by Cherry-Garrard.' Odd, because all three volumes are identical and none of the three is truly an "exact" reproduction. (If you've seen the originals at the RGS (Discovery) and the British Library (Terra Nova)—as I have—you would agree.) Lot 159 is confusedly described as "2 volumes (without the supplement The Antarctic Book…)" but the illustration shows the page from The Antarctic Book signed by members of the expedition and the description states "SIGNED BY ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE SHORE PARTY". So is the lot the complete 3-volume edition de luxe or just the two volumes of the narrative and no Antarctic Book? Let's hope the buyer at £6,000 knew.

—R. Stephenson
(1 October 2010)


To be held Sunday 18 July 2010, Norwood Town Hall, George Street, Norwood, Adelaide, South Australia, 12 noon. Tel: 8223 1111. E-mail: Web:

"Voyages and travels (including items from Sir Douglas Mawson's collection)." Most of the Mawson items do not deal with the Antarctic though many contain his bookplate and/or signature. There is a Cook second voyage. Also 'Report of the Scientific Results of the Voyage of HMS Challenger...


Held Wednesday 14 July 2010, Spink, 69 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 4ET, 2 pm. Web:
Prices realised:

This sale passed me by but Greg Glade brought it to my attention recently. It's mostly postcards, postal covers and some letters. Lots 1791-1989, are referred to as Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands, subheaded The 'Wordie' Collection. The Wordie connection is not explained but presumably it has something to do with Sir James Wordie. The first four lots are an early map and letters from Perry, Wilkes and Borchrevink. Then the collection is organized by expedition beginning with the Beligica Expedition of 1897-99 and ending with the Norwegian-Swedish-British Antarctic Expedition of 1903. Following these are sections of Antarctic Bases and Territories, Tierra del Fuego, Tristan da Cunha, Falkland Islands, Covered and Cancellations, Graham Land, South Georgia, South Orkneys and the South Shetlands. Lots 1990 and 1991 are an Oates letter and a 1908 King Edward VII Land 1d. stamp.

Among the higher price lots: 1818. A Shackleton letter to his fiancee's sister (£4,200 against an estimate of £4,000-5,000); 1825. A Koettlitz letter to his brother (£6,000 against an estimate of £2,500-3,000); 1855. A photo postcard (icebergs) associated with Charcot's Pourquoi Pas? expedtion (£5,800 against an estimate of £3,000-4,000); 1879. Rare blue registered envelope addressed to William Wordie from South Georgia (Endurance Expedition) (£6,000 against an estimate of £800-1,000). These figures exclude the 17-20% buyer's premium.

—Thanks to Greg Glade.
(27 June 2011)


Held on 23 June 2010, New York City.

Lot 56, 3 volumes of the South Polar Times fetched $22,000 against an estimate of $35,000-35,000. Here is the full description of this interesting set:
56. SHACKLETON, Sir Ernest H., BERNACCHI, Louis and l The South Polar Times London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1907-14. 3 volumes, 4to (275 x 210 mm). Titles in red and black (vols. I-II), text and title in red and blue (vol. III). Extra illustrated with in-text drawings and full-page plates from sketches and paintings by Edward A. Wilson, Herbert Ponting, and others. Original navy blue cloth, spines and upper boards gilt stamped, inset colored pictorial decoration to upper boards and gilt rope-motif borders, gilt edges. Condition: occasional light spotting to endpapers and prelims, front hinge to vol. I tender, frontis illustration loose in vol III; light wear to corners.
Provenance: Thomas Parkin (bookplate). Vol. I includes a laid in single sheet printed order form for the 3 vol. collection, a tipped in 4 leaf list of subscriptions from The National Antarctic Expedition dated May 1901, several pages of mounted and tipped in newsprint clippings c. 1913, a tipped in ALS from Edward A. Wilson to Mr. Parkin dated 26 April 1905, and a posthumous appreciation of Mr. Wilson by J. Stanley Gardiner that includes a gift inscription to Mr. Parkin. Further to this is a 3 pp. tipped in broadside reprinted from The Sussex Daily News dated 4 January 1916 detailing Mr. Parkin's considerable reputation as a collector and a "devoted Grangerizer." The end of vol. II adds various other tipped in ephemera, including an undated illustrated 10 pp. playbill for Herbert Ponting's Philharmonic Hall presentation entitled "With Captain Scott in the Antarctic" signed by Ponting.
A FINE SET OF THIS TRULY UNIQUE WORK OF ANTARCTIC EXPLORATION. This copy profusely extra illustrated with ephemera collected by Thomas Parkin. Volumes I and II are both from the limited edition of 250 copies, these copies numbered 62. Volume III is from the limited edition of 350 copies, this copy numbered 234. The South Polar Times was an exact reproduction of the original which appeared month by month during the winters of 1902 and 1903, edited by Sir Ernest Shackleton and Louis Bernacchi, with news articles, stories, poetry, puzzles and scientific essays on geological, climatic and biological topics supplied by various members of the British National Anarctic Expedition of 1901-04. Volume III, edited by Cherry-Garrard, contains contributions from members of the British Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1913. Conrad p.111, 121 & 173; Renard 1433 & 1434; Spence 1094. (3)
—Thanks to Greg Glade.


To be held Wednesday, 12 June 2010, International Autograph Auctions, Radison Edwardian Hotel Heathrow, 140 Bath Road, Hayes, Middlesex, UK. E-mail: Web:

803. SCOTT ROBERT FALCON: (1868-1912) British Royal Navy Officer & Antarctic Explorer. Important T.L.S., R Scott, one page, 4to, Victoria Street, London, 23rd March 1910, to Edgar Evans at the Royal Naval Barracks in Portsmouth, on the printed stationery of the British Antarctic Expedition 1910. Scott informs Evans that he has applied for his services on the Expedition ('and I think the Admiralty will let you come') and continues 'I expect you will be appointed in about a fortnights time and I shall want you at the ship to help fitting her out.' In concluding he invites Evans to the Expedition office once he is appointed 'and I will tell you all the rest'. Some very light, extremely minor age wear and toning, otherwise VG.
Scott's letter of engagement to Petty Officer Edgar Evans. Described as "a huge, bull-necked beefy figure" and a "beery womaniser" by Roland Huntford in his biography of Scott, Evans was chosen as one of the five man Polar party who reached the South Pole with Scott on 17th January 1912.
Est: £1000-1500. Result: £2800.

804. EVANS EDGAR: (1876-1912) Welsh Royal Navy Petty Officer and Antarctic Explorer, a member of the British Antarctic Expedition 1910. Extremely rare A.L.S., Edgar, two pages, 4to, Terra Nova at sea (sailing for Madeira en route for Antarctica), 22nd June 1910, to 'Dear Jack & Beat' (his brother and sister-in-law), on the printed stationery of the British Antarctic Expedition, featuring an illustration of a penguin. Evans reports that he is in the best of health and continues to supply details of his itinerary with the Terra Nova ('we go a long way in a long time we do'), also commenting on the weather they have experienced and the condition of the ship, 'I'm happy too (sic) tell you that the leak is as bad as ever but it may close up'. Evans adds that he will try and send a programme of their movements from Cape Town, if he can get any reliable information, and remarks that he would also like to hear from them, 'but you will have to hurry up about it as we leave there [Cape Town] on the 8th August.', supplying his address in South Africa and concluding by asking to be remembered to various mutual friends and family members ('Please give my love to all the children'). Some light age wear and very minor traces of former mounting at the head of the second page, about VG.
'Taffy' Evans, known for his cheerful manner, was a great boost to the morale of the other Terra Nova crew members, as reflected in this letter.
The Terra Nova had set sail from Cardiff on 15th July 1910. Robert Falcon Scott, detained by Expedition business, sailed later and joined the ship in South Africa. The Terra Nova was not in completely satisfactory condition, as Evans alludes to in his letter, and on one occasion, when heavily laden and caught in a heavy storm, the pumps failed and the crew had to bail her out with buckets. The storm resulted in the loss of two ponies, a dog, 10 imperial tons of coal and 65 gallons of petrol.
Est: £1000-1500. Result: £2100.

805. SCOTT ROBERT FALCON: (1868-1912) British Royal Navy Officer & Antarctic Explorer. An important, very fine A.L.S., R Scott, four pages, 8vo, Winter Quarters (Cape Evans, Antarctica), October 1911, to Mrs. [Edgar] Evans, on the printed stationery of the British Antarctic Expedition, Terra Nova, featuring an illustration of a penguin. Writing on the eve of his last journey southwards to the Pole, Scott expresses the high admiration he has for his correspondent's husband, 'Although I have never met you, your husband has told me a great deal about you so that I can imagine that you and the children will be waiting to see him home again next year….he is very well indeed, very strong and in very good condition.' The explorer continues to inform Evans, 'It is possible we may not finish our work this year and in that case he will stop with me for a second season' and reassuring her 'If so you must try and remember that he is certain to be in the best of health and that it will be all the better when he does come home. When that time comes I hope he will get some good billet and not have to leave you again. He is such an old friend of mine and has done so well on this Expedition that he deserves all I can do for him.' Scott concludes his letter by remarking 'So I must hope you won't be anxious or worried.' A poignant letter which, as with others written at this time, may not have arrived in London until 11th May 1912, three months after Evans's tragic death. Some very light age wear and minor traces of former mounting, about VG.
One of the most remarkable letters by Scott to have appeared at auction. Scott had evidently also given his encouragement and assurances to Evans himself that he would return from the expedition with a 'good billet' representing financial security, promotion and a comfortable retirement. Instead, with the tragic death of Evans, his wife and three children were awarded £1500 by the Lord Mayor's Committee and a pension of £48 per annum from the Admiralty.
Est: £4000-6000. Result: £5500.

806. SCOTT KATHLEEN: (1878-1947) British Sculptor, wife of Robert Falcon Scott. A.L.S., Kathleen Scott, two pages, 4to, Shingle End, Sandwich, 19th August n.y. (1912), to Mrs. [Edgar] Evans. Scott announces 'Captain Scott has sent his diary back from the Antarctic & I think you will be glad to hear how well he speaks throughout it of your husband & his work.' and continues 'Apparently he has made himself more than useful, he has worked so hard & so willingly through every sort of difficulty - & finally been chosen to go on to the Pole.' Scott concludes 'I am sure you will like to hear how indispensable he has made himself to Captain Scott & how fit & hardworking he has been. My husband asked me to tell you how splendid he has been.' An extremely rare letter of fine content. Some very slight traces of former mounting at the head of the second page, not affecting the text or signature. VG.
The diary that Kathleen Scott refers to is evidently an earlier one to the final diary which was found on her husband's body on 12th November 1912, since in her letter she refers to Scott and Evans being alive. Scott's last diary, along with news of his death (and that of Evans) only reached England on 13th February 1913. The explorers had, in fact, perished to death five months before Scott penned the present letter. It was four months before the tent and bodies were discovered and the last entry Scott had made in his diary was dated 29th March 1912.
Est: £500-800. Result: £720.

807. EVANS EDWARD R. G. R.: (1881-1957) British Naval officer and Antarctic Explorer. Evans served as second-in-command on Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole 1910-13 and as Captain of the expedition ship Terra Nova. Fine, emotional A.L.S., Edward R. G. R. Evans, Commander R.N., two pages, 4to, Terra Nova at sea, 5th February 1913, to Mrs. [Edgar] Evans, on the printed stationery of the British Antarctic Expedition featuring an illustration of a penguin. Evans states 'I am writing to sympathise with you on your terrible bereavement' and continues his letter of condolence by writing 'Your husband died a gallant death on the return march from the Pole after faithfully serving his leader, Capt. Scott, through a most trying time. He lost his life for the honour of his country, and the British Navy will be proud of having possessed such a brave man. His "grit" will for ever be an example to the lower deck, his ability was remarkable and I wish to convey to you from the whole expedition our sorrow. I also write to you to tell you of the admiration we felt for your dead husband.' In concluding Evans adds that he will soon be in England 'and I will see that you and yours never want' and once again expresses his sympathy, 'I cannot tell you how sorry I am for you.' Some very light age wear and slight traces of former mounting to the edges of the verso. Accompanied by an earlier Registered envelope addressed by Evans to Mrs. Edgar Evans and bearing numerous postal cancellations including two of the British Antarctic Expedition, 18th January 1913. About VG.
The relationship between Edward Evans and his namesake, Edgar Evans, was actually fraught and strained during much of the expedition. Edward Evans thought little of Edgar's habit of excessive drinking and was somewhat jealous of the relationship he shared with Scott. Indeed, the alliance between Scott and his second-in-command could also be problematic at times.
As a result of Scott's death, it became the responsibility of Evans to write letters of condolence, and he clearly put the animosity felt towards Edgar Evans to one side when he wrote the present letter to his widow.
Est: £800-1000. Result: £2500.

808. OATES LAWRENCE: (1880-1912) British Antarctic Explorer, a member of Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole 1910-13. An excellent A.L.S., L. E. G. Oates, four pages, 8vo, Moynes Court, Chepstow, 10th June 1910, to his mother, Caroline Oates. The explorer writes while making preparations to embark on Captain Scott's final expedition, explaining 'It is not decided yet which way I go out to New Zealand but I expect it will be Siberia. I don't mind which way it is but I should like to know one way or the other.' Oates also provides details of the 14th century house where he is staying ('old oak doors etc. with initials cut in them') and recounts an amusing anecdote, 'One of the children here committed rather a faux pas when I arrived by asking Mrs. Herbert if I was a pirate, she was quite disappointed when she heard I was not.' He also thanks his mother for a present of some teeth, 'it is a most suitable present as I shall be able always to have them with me whereas most of my other things will have to be dumped' and in concluding lets his mother know his future movements, 'I go back to the ship Monday afternoon to hear definitely what is to happen to me and from Tuesday until Friday I am rather at a loose end but something will no doubt turn up.' A rare letter written at a significant time in the brief career of the explorer. VG.
In 1910 Oates applied to join Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to the South Pole and was selected on the strength of his experience with horses and, to a lesser degree, his contribution of £1000 to the expedition funds. His role in the expedition was to look after the ponies that Scott intended to use for sledge hauling; indeed the possibility of Oates travelling to Siberia, as referred to in the letter, was with the intention of acquiring ponies and dogs for the Terra Nova. As it turned out, Oates was not involved in the purchase of the livestock and was horrified when he saw the animals, commenting that they were 'the greatest lot of crocks I have ever seen'.
Scott selected Oates as one of the five man party to travel the final distance to the Pole. The party faced extremely difficult conditions on their return journey from the Pole. On 17th February 1912 Edgar Evans died, suspected by his companions to be the result of a blow to the head he had suffered when falling down a crevasse a few days earlier. Oates feet had become severely frostbitten and he was acutely aware that his slow progress was causing the party to fall behind schedule. On 16th March 1912 he made the ultimate sacrifice, leaving the party tent and walking into a blizzard with the knowledge that certain death would result. Oates famously remarked to Scott 'I am just going outside and may be some time'. Despite his noble sacrifice, Scott and the two remaining members of his party were to die nine days later.
Est: £1200-1800. Result: £2100.

809. [SCOTT ROBERT FALCON]: (1868-1912) British Royal Navy Officer & Antarctic Explorer. MILLS JOHN (1908-2005) English Actor, Academy Award winner. Mills portrayed Scott in the 1948 film Scott of the Antarctic, the story of the explorer's ill-fated attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole in Antarctica in 1910-12. T.L.S., John Mills, one page, 8vo, Fulmer, Buckinghamshire, 25th August 1947, to Mrs. Chavasse. Mills states that he has just returned from America and, if he is in England on 14th November, will be happy to help his correspondent. However, his commitment is subject to one consideration, 'I am making a picture about Scott of the Antarctic and we may all have to go to Norway in November to shoot the blizzards. I will find out definitely during the next two weeks and let you know…' Some light creasing and traces of former mounting to the verso, about VG.
Petty Officer Edgar Evans was portrayed by James Robertson Justice in the film. Est: £80-100. Result: £100.

—Thanks to Jeff Rubin for pointing out this sale.


Held 26 May 2010, The Derby Showroom, Chequers Road off Pentagon Island, Derby, UK
Web: For the catalogue and prices realized, go to Catalogues then Archive.

I'm not sure how I missed knowing about this sale. Greg Glade drew my attention to it recently. The Antarctic lots (247-278) comprise the collection of Edward Mackenzie who was on the Terra Nova expedition. This is what is said about him in the catalogue:
"The British Antarctic Expedition of 1910-13 led by Robert Falcon Scott aimed to be the first group to reach the South Pole. The party travelled on board the supply ship Terra Nova. The items offered here were obtained by direct descent from Leading Stoker R.N. Edward Archibald McKenzie and include items given to him when he lectured after returning from the Expedition. The Expedition comprised seven officers, including the Captain of the Terra Nova, Edward R. G. R. Evans, twelve scientists and fourteen men; with an additional ship's complement of thirty two including McKenzie, making sixty five in total.
After returning from the Antarctic McKenzie was a Policeman for 25 years. In the Great War he served briefly in the Grenadier Guards before transferring to the Navy. He qualified for the Antarctic Medal and the British War Medal. He was interested in Amateur Dramatics and was a good musician. He was a very competent model maker producing the scale model of the Terra Nova which has been on display at the Science Museum.
The 1/42nd scale model was used by the makers of the film 'Scott of the Antarctic' in 1948. One of the most poignant items is the diary or log written by McKenzie which includes an entry for February 4th 1911 when they encountered the Norwegian ship Fram in McMurdo Sound and berthed three yards to the south… A later entry relates the return of the Terra Nova to McMurdo sound to receive the news of the death of the final party led by Scott. Scott's heroic failure has passed into legend as he reached the Pole only to discover that the Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen had preceded him by 33 days.
Among items sold are McKenzie's personal log; a cruet set and milk jug from the Terra Nova; letters and a loose postage stamp used by the expedition; signed and dedicated photographs by Herbert George Ponting, FRGS (1870-1935); Terra Nova Naval hat bands; a postcard signed by the Captain of the Terra Nova to McKenzie; a dedicated copy of Ponting's seminal work; two naïve but remarkable water colours of the scene at McMurdo sound painted on the voyage; an autograph album started at the founding of the Antarctic Club in 1929 containing the names of many Antarctic Explorers including some twenty members of the fatal expedition.
The Terra Nova sailed from Cardiff on the 15th July 1910 with Scott joining the ship in South Africa. On reaching Melbourne Scott left the ship to raise funds. Waiting for Scott was a telegram informing him that he was in a race with the Norwegians. Arriving off Ross Island on 4 January 1911, the Terra Nova proceeded to McMurdo Sound, where both Discovery and Nimrod had previously landed. The rest of the story has passed into folklore."
The Terra Nova model (lot 247) is quite splendid. I saw it recently at Maggs, the London bookseller. They must have been the buyer. It went for £5,500. Maggs also had on display lot 249 ("man with horse pulling a sledge"), another well-done model by McKenzie (£2,000).

The two primitive watercolours did very well: Lot 255 (£4,600) and Lot 256 (£6,900). One or both ended up at SPRI.

Lot 275 was McKenzie's diary which went for £6200.
"The South Pole, Scott's Antarctic Expedition 1910-13, The Terra Nova, Edward A. McKenzie Collection, Journal of McKenzie, being a contemporary diary of the voyage of the Terra Nova from its departure from Cardiff to its return to Britain. telling of the conditions during the journey, the unexpected meeting up with the Norwegian ship the Fram, the sadness on hearing of the deaths of Scott and his party; with several contemporary small photographs by G.H.Ponting, the majority of photographs have been quite crudely removed and pasted into the photograph album also appearing in this sale, should the two lots be reunited the original photographs might be returned to the journal or copies inserted; also contains pasted in printed accounts and also to the back an account written towards the end of his life by McKenzie; a Terra Nova hat band, a unique document."
This lot went to SPRI as did several others. This is what Heather Lane had to say about it in Polar Bytes 56:
"Many of you will have seen the recent coverage in the national newspapers of the sale of the Edward A McKenzie Collection at auction. McKenzie was Leading Stoker on Terra Nova during the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-13. The Polar Museum already holds a set of clothing and other artefacts relating to him. With the kind assistance of the auctioneers, Bamfords Ltd., we have negotiated the purchase of a number of important items from the McKenzie Collection, including two of his watercolours, his personal photograph album, compass, letters and most importantly, his diary of the voyage."

—Thanks to Greg Glade.
(27 June 2011)


From a recent e-mail from Chris Edwards of Aberdeenshire:

"I attended a sale in Edinburgh (Lyon and Turnbull) the other day where a number of classic polar items were up for sale coming largely from a clear-out of the Northern Lighthouse Board library of items that weren't relevant to the current work of the Board.
All the NLB items were leather-bound volumes and in VG condition generally. Many classic Arctic items - Back/Narrative, Barrow/Chronological History/Voyages/Observations, Beechey/North Pole, Franklin Narrative (1)/Narrative (2nd Exp.), Parry/1821,1824,1826,1828, Phipps/North Pole, John Ross/Narrative/2nd, Sabine/Wrangell, Scoresby/Account and Journal…
Of Antarctic material the following are the details. The prices given are what the buyer would have to pay viz. hammer plus the 25% buyers premium (outrageous!) and 17.5% VAT on the premium."

I've gone to Lyon & Turnbull's site ( and included additional details which are included below along with some comments from Chris Edwards set in quotes. He also provided the final prices.
Estimates in bold. Results in italics, hammer price shown first, followed by hammer price including buyer's premium (25%) and VAT (17.5%).

Non-Northern Lighthouse Board items:

182. Brown, R.N.R. The Voyage of the Scotia, 1906. "Spine v. faded." First edition. Estimate: £100-200. £400; £517.50
196. Mawson, Sir Douglas. Home of the Blizzard, London, [1915], First edition. "Nice and tight and quite bright." Estimate: £250-350. £340; £425
201. Ross, Sir James Clark. A Voyage of Discovery…, London, 1847. First Edition. "Blind stamped boards don't have the gilt decoration on front (possible early rebind). Spine ends detaching. A bit tatty." Estimate: £600-800. £980; £1,268

Of the NLB items, the following may be of interest:

265. Forster, George. A voyage round the world, in His Britannic Majesty's Sloop, Resolution…, London, 1777. First Edition. Estimate: £1,000-1,500. £2,700; £3,493
271. Hawkesworth, John - Cook, Captain James. An account of the voyages undertaken by the order of His Present Majesty for making discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, London, 1773. Nine volumes. Second Edition. "A bit rubbed." Estimate: £8,000-10,000. £10,000; £12,937.50
355. Wales, William. Astronomical observations made in the voyages... for making discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, London, 1788. Second Edition. Estimate: £800-1.200. £7,500; £9,703
359. Wilkes, Commander Charles. Narrative of the United States exploring expedition…, London, 1845. 6 volumes including atlas. First English Edition. SALEROOM NOTICE: THIS IS THE IMPERIAL OCTAVO, NOT QUARTO, EDITION. Estimate: £1,000-1,500. £3,800; £4,916.25
All these lots reached or exceeded their estimates. The star was clearly the Wales fetching nearly 10 times the estimate.
—R. Stephenson with thanks to Chris Edwards
(15 January 2010)


Held Monday 23 November 2009, at 6:30 pm at Australan Book Auctions, 909 High Street, Armadale, Victoria, Australia.

A few nice Antarctic lots:
2. Charcot, The 'Why Not' in the Antarctic, first edition in English. Estimate: AUD400/600. Result (including 16.5% premium): AUD874.
3. Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, first edition in blue library binding. Estimate: AUD1000/1600. Result: AUD1,981.
7. Forster, A Voyage Round the World, first edition. Estimate: AUD2000/3000. Result: AUD3,029.
9. Marra, Journal of the Resolution's Voyage, first edition. Estimate: AUD8000/12,000. Result: AUD12,815.
10. Mawson, Home of the Blizzard, London, first edition. Estimate: AUD2,000/3,000. Result: AUD3,728
21. Shackleton, Heart of the Antarctic, Edition deLuxe, 3 vols. Estimate: AUD15,000/26,000. Result: AUD17,475.
26. Wilkes, Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, first octavo edition, 5 volumes plus atlas. Estimate: AUD1000/1500. Result: AUD3,495.
27. Weddell, A Voyage Towards the South Pole, first editon. Estimate: AUD2000/3000. Result: AUD4,893.


To be held Thursday 15 October 2009, Christie's, South Kensington, 85 Old Brompton Road, London. Web:

This sale has a small number of polar lots (182-97):
185. Shackleton, Ernest Henry The Heart of the Antarctic, 2 vols., first edition. Presentation copy to H.R. Falkner, Esq."
Estimate: £1,000-£1,500. Result: £1,250/$2,014

186. Shackleton, Ernest Henry The Heart of the Antarctic, 2 vols., first edition, along with The Antarctic Book. The Edition de Luxe in vellum. Number 4 of 300. Vilhjalmur Stefansson's copy (why isn't this at Dartmouth, I wonder?)
Estimate: £12,000-£18,000. Result: £15,000/$24,165

187. A late Victorian silver beaker belonging to Sir Ernest Shackleton. Engraved with the inscription "1901 'Discovery; Lieut: E.H. Shackleton, R.N.R."
Estimate: £10,000-£15,000. Result: £43,250/$69,676.

188 and 189. Two watercolours by George Marston. An Iceberg with Adelie penguins, 1907. Estimate: £3,000-£4,000. Result: £3,750/$6,041.
June 21st [1908]. Estimate: £2,500-£3,500. Result: Did not sell.

190-97. Eight photographs by Frank Hurley.
Estimates ranging from £2,000-£10,000. Results: Sold from £5,250/$8,458 (Lot 191) to £15,000/$24,165 (Lot 193)

COMMENT: The prices above include the buyer's premium. All but lot 189 sold and all within or over the estimate. The silver beaker did exceedingly well. The grand old man of British Antarctic affairs should be happy with what his HofA fetched—Lot 186.


To be held Friday 18 September 2009, at 10 am at the Washington Mayfair Hotel, 5 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London W1J 5HE. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7016 1700. E-mail: Web:

Lot 972.

Estimate: £ 50,000-60,000.

RESULTS: Sold for £110,000 (Hammer price)

The highly important C.B.E. and Polar Medal awarded to Commander J. R. F. "Frank" Wild, late Royal Navy and Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, the only man to explore Antarctica five times during the "Heroic Age" and the recipient of a unique 4-clasp Polar Medal The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, C.B.E. (Civil) Commander's 1st type neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel, in its Garrard & Co. case of issue; Polar Medal 1904, 4 clasps, Antarctic 1902-04, Antarctic 1907-09, Antarctic 1912-14, Antarctic 1914-16 (A.B. F. Wild, "Discovery"), complete with original ribbon and pin-brooch as worn, good very fine (2) £50000-60000
See Dix Noonan Webb, 13 December 2007 (Lot 1), for Wild's other Honours & Awards. John Robert Francis "Frank" Wild was born at Skelton, Yorkshire, in April 1873 and was educated at Bedford. Having entered the Merchant Navy in 1888, aged 15 years, Wild transferred the Royal Navy in 1900, and was among those to volunteer for the National Antarctic Expedition under Commander Robert Falcon Scott, R.N., in 1901. Still rated an Able Seaman, he nonetheless gave ample evidence of the qualities that would permit him to take part in more Antarctic Expeditions than any other explorer. In March 1902, 12 members of a sledging party under Lieutenant Charles Royds set out for Cape Crozier to leave details for the relief ship. Advancement was slow and it was decided to send all but three men back to base. The returning men were caught in a blizzard and were unaware that they were at the head of a steep slope. As they lost their footing and slid towards the edge of the sheer ice cliff and into the sea, Wild, who had previously knocked nails into his boots, managed to drag four men to safety. Sadly, Able Seaman George Vince who was clinging to Wild, let go and slid to his death. Wild then took charge of the safe return of the remaining party. In September of the same year he participated in the South-West reconnaissance to Koettlitz Glacier, and a month later joined Lieutenant Royds's party on its journey to Cape Crozier. Having bagged an N.A.E. Sports Medal for second place in the Toboggan Race held on the King's Birthday in November, he started out with 'B' sledge party under Petty Officer Allan at the end of the month, on Lieutenant Armitage's "Western Journey" that established the route to the Ferrar Glacier. On this occasion the sledge reached 7,600 feet but did not, however, gain the summit owing to the severe illness of Petty Officer Macfarlane and the mild attacks of mountain sickness suffered by Wild and another member of the team. Finally, almost a year later, he was one of the party which reached 25 miles beyond Minna Bluff in support of Lieutenant Barnes's South-West effort. Interestingly, it is recorded that after these experiences Wild could be counted among those who declined to follow Scott a second time, even 'after the most pressing invitations'. Upon his return to England, Wild received his R.G.S. Medal in February 1905 from Sir Clements Markham, and, as Petty Officer 1st Class, was presented with his Polar Medal by the Commanding Officer of H.M.S. Pembroke on 19 December of the same year. Wild was was next lent to the British Antarctic Expedition under Ernest Shackleton in 1907, when he took charge of the provisions. Furthermore, he was one of the three men that Shackleton chose for the attempt on the South Pole between October 1908 and February 1909. While the party, consisting of Marshall and Adams, besides Wild and Shackleton, failed in its principal aim, the attempt beat all previous records, reaching Latitude 88 degrees, 23 minutes South, or only 97 geographical miles from the Pole, thereby establishing a new "Farthest South" record. During this latter epic, Wild carried out repairs to the sledges and other equipment, and assisted Shackleton in making geological observations. Indeed it was Wild at 6,000 feet who found the outcrop of coal on the Upper Beardmore Glacier. Returning to the U.K., where he resigned for the Royal Navy, Wild undertook an extensive boating trip, but in 1910 he joined a Sir Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition, which sailed from London in the Aurora in July 1911. Wild was appointed leader of the Western Base in 1912, where he had charge of seven men on what was named the Shackleton Ice Shelf. They were to have no contact with the outside world for a year. Some 400 miles of new land was chartered under appalling conditions. Wild and the Eastern Party journeyed to Mount Barr Smith, a point just 50 miles short of the snow-free oasis discovered by Lieutenant David Bunger some years later, again earning the respect of his chief who was later to state, 'Wild won the sincere regard of the members of his party, and the admiration of all for the splendid way in which he executed the difficult task entrusted to him'. On his return from the Australasian Expedition, he was asked by Shackleton to go South once more, this time as the second-in-command of the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Accordingly, in August 1914 he sailed with Shackleton from Plymouth in the Endurance for the Weddell Sea, which was to be the base for an attempt to cross the Antarctic Continent to the Ross Sea via the South Pole. Tragically the crossing never took place. For ten months the Endurance was gripped in the pack ice, leaving the crew stranded without any means of contacting the outside world. Eventually the ship was crushed and sank, and for the next five months Wild, Shackleton, and their 26 companions suffered the most unbelievable privations- frostbite, insomnia and wracking hunger - whilst retreating over ice which had a tendency to open beneath their feet. Fortunately, Wild, like Shackleton, was at his best in a crisis. When nearly starving in early, 1916, 'a strange shape appeared, moving deliberately across a nearby section of their old floe. Wild ran to get his rifle from his tent, when he dropped to one knee and shot. The animal bucked, and slowly sank down on to the ice. Several men hurried to where it lay - a sea leopard nearly 11 feet long. With one bullet, it seemed, Wild had changed the whole complexion of their lives. There at their feet lay nearly 1,000 pounds of meat - Shackleton announced that they would feast on the sea leopard's liver for lunch. In April 1916 the shipwrecked explorers launched three rescue boats salvaged from Endurance, and, clearing loose pack ice, reached Elephant Island. From this desolate spot Shackleton with five men made his famous voyage in one of the boats to South Georgia and from there organised the rescue operation. Wild pleaded with Shackleton to be allowed to share the dangers of the voyage, but was given the onerous task of holding the rest of the partv together on Elephant Island for an unknown period of time. 'The trust reposed in Wild was fully justified', for incredibly, not a single life was lost. On the return of the Expedition to Europe Wild was commissioned Lieutenant in the R.N.V.R. and sent to Archangel to superintend the arrival of war materials. In 1918 he was released by the Admiralty to take part in an expedition under Shackleton to Spitsbergen, ostensibly to prospect for minerals but quasi-officially, to establish a British presence in the area. Awarded his C.B.E. in the New Year Honours of 1920, Wild then went into partnership with the Surgeon of the Weddell Sea Expedition, Dr. McIllroy, and tried his hand as a planter in Nyasaland, but the invitation of Sir Ernest Shackleton to join a new expedition proved irresistible and, in September 1921, he sailed South as his second-in-command in the Quest. On Shackleton's unexpected death at South Georgia in January 1922, Wild assumed command and continued the voyage until stopped by ice 50 miles from the Enderby Land Coast, and after some oceanographic work in the South Atlantic, returned home in June 1922. The following year he published Shackleton's Last Voyage, and in 1924 was awarded the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. Wild emigrated to South Africa in 1923, where he died in 1939.
(7 September 2009)
—Thanks in part to Jeff Rubin.

"I was fortunate to attend the Dix Noonan Webb auction with Dr Mike Wain who is the proud possessor of Frank Wild's near complete collection of medals. It was therefore of great importance, to us anyway, that the Polar Medal and CBE should be re-united. We had agreed to meet at 1pm believing we had at least an hour to calm our nerves before the illustrious Lot 972 came up. As I arrived half an hour earlier than our agreed time to meet, I wandered into the sale room in the Washington Hotel off Piccaddilly, to take in the atmosphere. To my horror I realized Lot 972 was probably only 15 minutes away from being auctioned Dr Wain was no where to be seen. I crept out of the sale room and telephoned him on his mobile and asked "Where are you?" and the reply was "in a book shop in Piccadilly!" In a panic stricken voice I said "the Lot is coming up in a few minutes!" to which he replied, "Get in there and bid!" Well there is a first time for everything but there was no room for error. With a querulous voice I asked him what his ceiling was and stole back into the sale room with a beating heart! Fortunately, Pierce Noonan whispered "we can do a telephone bid" but to my amazement suddenly Dr Wain slipped into the chair next to me. He had jumped into a London taxi which fortunately didn't spare the horses! The bidding started at £45,000 and rose fairly swiftly. There were no more than 60 people in the room but the atmosphere was electric. There seemed to be at least three serious contenders, including the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch but Dr Wain saw them off at £100,000 and the hammer came down at a staggering £110,000. It was a nerve jangling experience but particularly pleasing as the collection will eventually be 'lent' for public display. I have been researching Wild for some five years for a book, and piecing together the last 16 years of his life in South Africa from where the Polar Medal and CBE have remained until now with family through marriage."


To be held Wednesday 16 September 2009, at 2 am at London, 101 New Bond Street. Web:

     Update: Prices realized are shown in bold. These include the buyer's premium (20%).

Jeff Rubin directed me to this sale which is bound to generate lots of attention because of the large and varied array of lots with association to Dr E. A. Wilson. Many if not most of these have their provenance with the family "probably via Ida Wilson to the Wishaw family (Wilson's mother)." The star of the Antarctic lots (there are a total of 48) is No. 11, Wilson's autograph 40-page manuscript of his account of the 'Worst Journey' made to Cape Crozier with Bowers and Cherry Garrard. It's signed by Wilson and includes several pencilled notes added by Captain Scott. The manuscript is shown in its entirety on Bonham's website. The catalogue remarks: "It is believed to be the most important manuscript relating to the heroic age of Antarctic exploration to come for sale in the last twenty years or more and almost certainly the only manuscript of its level of importance not now in institutional hands." The estimate—£80,000-120,000—although not pocket change seems quite reasonable. (Many of the polar lots in this sale seem to have what I would maintain as very low estimates.)
Sold for £132,000 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

A page of the journal showing Wilson' sketch of the stone hut at Cape Crozier. Image: Bonhams website

Most but not all of the other Wilson lots with their estimates include:
12: 'On the Meteorological Observations of the Nat. Ant. Expedn. 1901', autograph manuscript on paper. Estimate: £3,000-6,000. Sold for £5,040 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

13: Ponting photograph of Wilson outside the Cape Evans hut. With presentation inscription by Ponting. Estimate: £2,000-4,000. Did not sell.

14: Two autograph letters signed to Dr. Wilson snr from Capt Scott and a signed letter from Kathleen Scott to Mrs Wilson. Estimate: £2,000-4,000. Sold for £6,960 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

15: 'Winter Journey - Dr. Wilson, Apsley Cherry-Garrard & Lieutenant H. R. Bowers, Midwinter 1911', transcript of Bowers' account of the Winter journey, on 16 numbered sheets. Estimate: £500-800. Sold for £3,120 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

16: Watercolor by Wilson, The Crippets with a kestrel in the foreground. Estimate: £3,000-5,000. Did not sell.

17: Watercolor by Wilson, A red kite on a perch. Estimate: £2,000-3,000. Sold for £2,400 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

18: A collection of original Wilson pencil drawings, fine preliminary sketches with annotated notes on colours, for working up into final watercolour. Estimate: £800-1,200. Sold for £5,760 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

19: Watercolor by Wilson, Mt Erebus. Estimate: £4,000-6,000. Did not sell.

20: Watercolor by Wilson, Large iceberg. Estimate: £3,000-5,000. Sold for £7,800 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

21: Pencil drawing and a watercolor by Wilson, Cape Barne Glacier; Great Sea Barrier off Cape Crozier. Estimate: £1,000-2,000. Sold for £1,560 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

22: Wilson's scientific instruments (3). Estimate: £400-600. Sold for £1,920 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

23: Wilson's scientific instruments and laboratory apparatus. Estimate: £400-600. Sold for £3,120 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

24: Wilson's laboratory apparatus and other artifacts. Estimate: £300-400. Sold for £780 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

25: Wilson's gold pocket watch with chain. Estimate: £400-600. Seems a bargain especially when worn to an Antarctic event! Sold for £5,760 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

26: Wilson's folding microscope. Estimate: £300-400. Sold for £600 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

27: Wilson's mahogany travelling desk with a hinged lid box. Estimate: £600-900. [I'd bid on this if I didn't have to carry or ship it home.] Sold for £720 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

28: Text ot a Wilson lecture to the Cheltenham Natural Science Society. Estimate: £800-1,200. Sold for £960 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

29: 'Rough Notes of my Life' (Edward Thomas Wilson). Estimate: £1,500-3,000. Sold for £1,920 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

30: Collection of autograph letters addressed either to Ted Wilson's father or mother, regarding their son. Estimate: £300-500. Sold for £540 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

31: Items from the study of the Wilson's family home "Crippetts". Estimate: £500-600. Did not sell.

32: Autograph letter, signed "Ted" to Ida Elinor Wilson, one of his younger sisters. Estimate: £800-1,000. Sold for £1,440 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

33: Transcription by his father of Edward Wilson's Antarctic diary from May to December 1903. Estimate: £800-1,200. Sold for £1,020 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

34: 'Life of Edward Adrian Wilson (Ted)', manuscript in ink. The head of the first leaf is inscribed "written specially for the family". Estimate: £2,000-4,000. Sold for £2,400 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

35: Wilson's upholstered chair. Estimate: £100-200. Seems a bargain to sit on Antarctic history! Sold for £600 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

39 & 40: Small collection of signed books on Wilson. Estimate: Both £200-300. Sold for £240 and £300 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

43: Catalogue of the 'Discovery' Antarctic exhibition (Brunton Gallery) plus piece from Cornhill Magazine. Estimate: £200-300. Sold for £1,320 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

44: Two scrapbooks kept by Ida Wilson. Estimate: £400-600. Sold for £6,600 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Other Antarctic lots include:
45: Drawing of penguins by E.R.G.R. Evans. Estimate: £800-1,200. Sold for £960 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

46: Drawing of a penguin by E.R.G.R. Evans. Estimate: £200-400. Sold for £504 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

47: Large Scott party memorial etching by William Wyllie. Estimate: £600-800. Did not sell.

48: Tattered first edition of The Voyage of the Discovery signed by Scott. Estimate: £800-1,000. Sold for £2,640 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

48A: White stoneware soup plate, with cobalt blue and gilt rim banding, marked with the Penguin logo "British Antarctic Expedition Terra Nova RYS". Estimate: £200-300. Sold for £3,600 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

51: Shackleton, South. [Edition not given]. Estimate: £500-700. Sold for £1,800 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

52: A narrative 78rpm recording featuring on one side Robert Peary The Discovery of the North Pole and on the other Ernest Shackleton The Dash for the South Pole. Estimate: £100-200. Sold for £348 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

53: Shackleton, manuscript letter. Estimate: £500-700. Sold for £1,800 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

54: Sample of orthoclase from the rim of Mount Erebus, presented in an unusual glazed silver case of rectangular form. Estimate: £3,000-5,000. Sold for £4,560 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

58: Ten photographs by Charles Royds. Estimate: £3,000-5,000. Sold for £5,400 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

59: Savage Club Welcome Home Dinner menu/placemat. Signed by Scott and Shackleton among others. Estimate: £1,000-1,500. Sold for £3,840 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

61: Various items related to 'Discovery II', 1934-35. Estimate: £500-700. [Good value] Sold for £1,560 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

62: Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1955-58. A wooden medical supplies sledge box. Estimate: £300-500. Sold for £3,360 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

—R. Stephenson
(16 August 2009)

RESULTS: I've received no first hand reports yet but it would seem, from Bonham's standpoint, that it was a successful sale given the economy and such. Of those lots listed above, only five did not sell (perhaps one or more were pulled from the sale). Lot 11—the star of the polar lots—(Wilson's account of 'The Worst Journey') fetched £132,000, a solid price. (This was the second highest price of the entire sale.) Without doing the math it would appear that Lot 25, Wilson's gold pocket watch, fetched the most above estimate (£400-600). With the buyer's premium it topped off at £5,760.
—R. Stephenson
(17 September 2009)

The October issue of Bergy Bits (UK Antarctic Heritage Trust) reports that some of the lots went to the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, the Dundee Heritage Trust and SPRI. Which lots specifically wasn't noted.
(11 October 2009)


Held Monday 6 April 2009, Bonhams, New York and San Francisco.

Lot No: 3153 WILKES, CHARLES. 1798-1877.
Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition. During the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. Philadelphia: C. Sherman, 1844. 5 volumes plus atlas. Text volumes with 64 engraved plates and 9 double-page maps (Vol 1: 8 plates and 1 map; Vol 2: 14 plates and 3 maps; Vol 3: 11 plates; Vol 4: 16 plates and 1 map; Vol 5: 15 plates and 4 maps) plus over 250 woodcut and steel engraved text illustrations chiefly after Joseph Drayton and Alfred T. Agate. Atlas with 5 large folding maps, 4 of which are hand-colored. 4to (311 x 235 mm). Original full green morocco by Gaskill (with binder's tickets), stamped in gilt and blind, covers with eagle vignettes, all edges gilt. Foxing (mostly marginal, but heavier at ends and near plates), occasional corner dampstain, endpapers discolored, bindings rubbed with some abrasions, small chip to foot of vol 2 spine.
First edition, rare official Sherman issue, and a presentation copy from Congress to Commander Wilkes, the bookplate in vol 1 reads: "Presented by the Congress of the United States to Captain Chas. Wilkes, US Navy, Commanding Expedition." Only 100 sets of the official Congressional issue were printed, and of these only about 75 were thought to survive the 1851 Library of Congress fire. This is the best possible set of the greatest American scientific voyage of the 19th century, "issued by the United States Congress to announce Americas scientific coming of age ... It was the first American scientific expedition of any size, charged to "extend the bounds of Science and promote the acquisition of knowledge," and was one of the most ambitious Pacific expeditions ever attempted" (Forbes). The Expedition represents "the first governmental sponsorship of scientific endeavor and was instrumental in the nation's westward expansion. Specimens gathered by expedition scientists became the foundation collections of the Smithsonian Institution. Significant American contributions in the fields of geology, botany, conchology, anthropology, and linguistics came from the scientific work of the expedition. Wilkes's evaluations of his landfalls influenced later U.S. positions in those areas" (Dictionary of American Biography). Wilkes also made immensely important charts of the American Northwest, Hawaii, Fiji, the Philippines and more. Wilkes was the first to announce the existence of an Antarctic continent.
The 100 sets of the official printing were all intended for foreign heads of states, American state libraries, and other special presentations. This set, presented to Wilkes himself is of the utmost desirability. Moreover, it remains unsophisticated and in its original Gaskill bindings. The only other auction record found by us for a Congressional issue was the Crosby-Kitham set which was bound in period calf. Haskell records one set of the official issue in the possession of descendant J. Frank Wilkes of Charlotte, N.C. as of 1942, possibly this is the same set. Forbes 1517; Haskell 1 (text) & 16 (atlas); Hill 1867; Howes W414; Sabin 103994.
Sold for $115,900 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Photo: Bonhams website

This from a prominent collector:
"In case you weren't aware, what in my opinion was the single most significant and extraordinary book item of interest to Antarctic buffs in the last 25 years came up for auction last Monday at Bonham's in New York. It was Wilkes's own set of the 5-volume narrative plus atlas, the "official" congressional issue of 100 copies (virtually all in institutions, only one to my knowledge surfacing on the market in the last quarter century), with the presentation plate from the U.S. Congress on the front paste-down of vol. I, all volumes still in the original magnificent full green tooled morocco, with modest signs of wear and the front cover of the atlas showing early signs of impending separation (without proper care) ... Certainly this was the premier set of the extremely rare first edition, first binding of these volumes. The set hammered at $95,000 ($114,000 with the 20% buyer's premium). I know, because I was the unhappy underbidder... I had actually been of the belief the set would bring $150,000 or more. Well, for me it will always be the big fish that got away!"
Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition. During the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1845. 5 volumes plus atlas. Text volumes with 64 engraved plates and 9 double-page maps plus over 250 woodcut and steel engraved text illustrations chiefly after Joseph Drayton and Alfred T. Agate. Atlas with 5 large folding maps, 1 of which is hand-colored. Large 8vo (280 x 180 mm). Original cloth stamped in gilt and blind. Plates dampstained (mostly pale, but heaviest in vol 2 also affecting text and with some mold-staining), closed stub tear to world map, minor foxing at ends, creasing to maps in Atlas vol, rebacked with original spine panels laid down, partially unopened.
First regularly published edition of the immensely influential account of the greatest American scientific voyage of the 19th century (Forbes). The first two printings were of 100 and 150 copies each. Subsequent editions did not include the Atlas. Forbes 1575; Haskell 2b (text) and 17b (atlas); Hill 1867; Howes W414; Wagner-Camp 100.
Sold for $5,185 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

"The Exploring Expedition. Lea and Blanchard, Philadelphia, are preparing for publication, and will shortly issue...," being the 2-page publisher's prospectus for Wilkes's Narrative. Bound into: Posthumous Memoirs of Time by N. W. Wraxall, 1845. 8vo. Original black cloth. Even browning, light foxing, cloth tired.
Very rare publisher's prospectus for the imperial octavo publication of the Wilkes' Expedition set, accurately described as "this great and truly national work." Forbes 1518; Haskell 2-B.
Sold for $732 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

DANA, JAMES D. United States Exploring Expedition under the Command of Charles Wilkes, U.S.N. Vol. VII. Zoophytes. Philadelphia: Printed by C. Sherman, 1846. Text illustrations. 4to (311 x 232 mm). Original full morocco, covers with eagle vignettes, all edges gilt. Binding worn and dry with covers detached.
First edition, rarest state of the rare official Congressional issue. Only 100 sets of the official issue were printed by Sherman; of these only about 75 were thought to survive a fire. The present is a rarity among rarities: it contains Danas preface. Haskell reports that there was a Committee edict declining to print author prefaces to the scientific volumes and the binders were instructed accordingly. Only a few copies of the Congressional issue were bound before the edict went forth. Haskell 21A.
Sold for $4,575 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

DANA, JAMES D. Structure and Classification of Zoophytes. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1846. Text volume only. 132 pp. Text illustrations. 4to. Original printed boards. First/last few leaves and boards spotted and browned, old rebacking of crude leather, boards rubbed, scattered inkstamps of the Wellington Public Library.
Presentation copy, inscribed on half title: "Sir J.G. Dalzell / from the Author." Forbes 1585.
Sold for $915 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

DANA, JAMES D. Synopsis of the Report on Zoophytes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition.... New Haven: Published by the Author, [1859]. Text vol only. 8vo. Original printed boards. Boards rubbed with spine cracked and chipped at ends.
Haskell 24.
Sold for $366 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

GRAY, ASA, editor. United States Exploring Expedition under the Command of Charles Wilkes, U.S.N. Vol. XVII. Botany. Cryptogamia. Phanerogamia. Philadelphia: Printed by Sherman & Co, 1874. 4to (310 x 229 mm). Original full morocco, covers with eagle vignettes, all edges gilt. Binding rubbed with front joint starting.
First edition, rare official Congressional issue. Only 100 sets of the official issue were printed and even fewer distributed. Haskell 68.
Sold for $1,220 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

HALE, HORATIO. United States Exploring Expedition under the Command of Charles Wilkes, U.S.N. Vol. VI. Ethnography and Philology. Philadelphia: Printed by C. Sherman, 1846. Illustrated with 3 maps (2 double-page, 1 of the double-page maps hand-colored in outline). 4to (313 x 230 mm). Original full green morocco by Gaskill (with binders ticket), stamped in gilt and blind, covers with eagle vignettes, all edges gilt. Foxing (heaviest at ends), occasional corner dampstain, binding rubbed with several scrapes, spine sunned to brown.
First edition, rare official Congressional issue of the first volume of the scientific reports. Only 100 sets of the official issue were printed by Sherman; of these only about 75 were thought to survive a fire. Haskell 19.
Sold for $3,050 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

PICKERING, CHARLES. United States Exploring Expedition ... Vol. IX. The Races of Man and their Geographical Distribution. Boston: Charles C. Little. London: John Murray, 1848. 12 hand-colored ethnographic plates and a colored folding map. 4to. Original cloth, rebacked. Pale marginal dampstain and a little spotting, 2 library bookplates, rebacked and corners repaired.
First edition, presentation copy, first unofficial issue, one of 150 copies printed. This copy inscribed on the front free endpaper: "Mrs L. Sanders with the respects of C. Pickering."
Sold for $1,037 inclusive of Buyer's Premium


Lot No: 3031 [MARRA, JOHN.]
Journal of the Resolution's Voyage, In 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775 on Discovery to the Southern Hemisphere ... also a Journal of the Adventure's Voyage in the Years 1772, 1773, 1774 with an Account of the Separation of the Two Ships and the Most Remarkable Incidents that Befel Each.... London: F. Newbery, 1775. xiii, [1 errata], 328 pp. Folding chart, 5 engraved plates, plus an additional folding chart: "Part of the tropical Discoveries of the Resolution Sloop, Captain J. Cook in 1774." 8vo (206 x 122 mm). Period full calf. Route chart backed and with some damp- and mold-stains, lacking free endpapers, spine and extremities worn.
First edition of the rare first published account of Cook's second voyage, and the first book to contain information on the Antarctic regions based on first-hand knowledge. Marra was an Irish gunner's mate who Cook picked up in Batavia. His story was published about a year and a half before Cook's official account became available. "It records many incidents omitted by Cook and gives the reasons which caused Sir Joseph Banks and his twelve assistants to withdraw from the expedition at the last moment" (Hill). The plates include the first views of the Antarctic. The extra frontispiece map is infrequently found. Du Rietz remarks that it "was apparently inserted by the publisher in some unsold copies during the latter half of 1776; today it is to be found in very few copies only. It is a revised corrected state of the map issued with the June issue of the Gentleman's Magazine 1776." Du Rietz 809; Hill 1087; Kroepelien 8090; Sabin 16247; Streeter sale IV, 2408. Provenance: Thomas George Thrum, editor of The Hawaiian Annual and Almanac, first published in 1875, and Hawaiian Folk Tales (bookplate).
Sold for $5,795 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

The Zoology of the Voyage of H.MS. Erebus and Terror, Under the Command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, During the Years 1839-1843. London: E.W. Janson, 1844-1875. 7 parts in 3 volumes. Approximately 188 plates (only of 198); bird plates and several mammal plates hand-colored. 4to (298 x 237 mm). Period quarter morocco (first 2 vols). Lacking about ten plates (about half those to mammals and half to birds), lacking chart and title page to Ichthyology section; vol 2 browned and foxed, some foxing and wear in vol 1, scattered stains, preliminaries worn, part 6 (Insects) nearly detached from binding and part 7 (mollusks) rebound separately in modern cloth, original bindings worn at joints and extremities, hinges cracked, sold as is.
First edition of the zoological results of Ross' great Antarctic expedition, apparently a presentation copy, inscribed on the first text page: "Dr Burmester with Dr Gray's kind regards." The narrative of the voyage was published by Ross in 1847 and the botanical results were separately published as Flora antarctica by Joseph Hooker. This remarkable assembly of knowledge contains several works of great individual importance: John Edward Grays work on marine mammals was a major contribution to knowledge of the seals of the Southern Hemisphere and the Antarctic regions. George Robert Gray determined that the emperor and king penguins are separate species. The section on reptiles was the first illustrated herpetofauna concerning Australia and New Zealand. Richardson's "Ichthyology" is distinguished as one of the most important zoological studies from the classic era of Antarctic exploration. According to Sabin, two complete zoological volumes were originally published in twenty-four parts at ten shillings each, the first eighteen of which appeared in 1844-48, and the last 1874-75. In fact, any parts of the natural history findings of the Ross Antarctic expedition are rare on the market. Janson imprint not noted by Sabin. Sabin 71032.
Sold for $6,710 inclusive of Buyer's Premium


To be held Wednesday and Thursday 25-26 March 2009, Bloomsbury Auctions, London.

RESULTS: There were several Antarctic lots in this sale, the three most important being Lot 879 (a presentation copy of the Voyage of the Discovery, Lot 883 (a very scarce John King Davis report) and Lot 889 (the deluxe Heart of the Antarctic with the Antarctic Book).
872. McCormick (Robert) Voyages of Discovery in the Arctic and Antarctic Seas, 2 vol., first edition, 3 portraits, 3 maps, 2 folding, 36 tinted lithograph plates including 5 folding panoramas, 24 wood-engraved plates, wood-engraved text illustrations, vol. II half-title only, vol. II very small tear in margin of frontispiece, foxing, without the 16pp. publisher's memorandum and opinions of the press found in some copies, original gilt pictorial cloth, spines dulled and slightly creased, vol. II spine stained, corners bumped, [Spence 747], 8vo, 1884.
est. £1000-£1500

873. Mill (Hugh Robert) The Siege of the South Pole. The Story of Antarctic Exploration, first edition, frontispiece, plates, folding chart and maps (3 folding, 1 colour), slightly foxed and browned, ink presentation inscription to G.T. Temple from his son, upper hinges weak, original gilt pictorial cloth, [Spence 793], 1905 § Armitage (Albert B.) Cadet to Commodore, first edition, frontispiece, slightly foxed and browned, original cloth, gilt spine, 1925; and 4 others, Polar, 8vo (6)
est. £200-£300

879. Scott (Capt. Robert Falcon) The Voyage of the Discovery, 2 vol., first edition, presentation copy from the author to George Temple, half-titles, photogravure frontispieces, folding maps in pockets at end, plates and maps, some colour, some double-page, some slight foxing, original blue cloth, raised gilt medallions on upper cover, spine slightly faded, t.e.g., [Spence 1051; Taurus 41], 1905; and another, vol. I, 8vo (3)
est. £2000-£3000
Inscription reads: "Lieut. G. Temple with the compliments of the authorities of the Expedition." George Theodore Temple (1847-1935), lieutenant commander RN, Knight, 1st Class, of Order of St. Olaf, FRGS; friend of Captain Scott and organiser of the relief fund for the rescue of Scott and the Discovery.
Sold for £5000

882. Cherry-Garrard (Apsley) The Worst Journey in the World: Antarctic 1910-1913, 2 vol., first edition, maps and plates, a few colour, some folding including 10 panoramas, one or two very slightly frayed at edges, contemporary ink inscription "G.V.McLaughlin 17.VII.24" on front free endpaper, endpapers a little spotted and browned, some pencil figures at end of vol.2, original mid-blue cloth, rubbed, vol.2 with light stains to boards, spines browned, particularly vol.1, [Rosove 71.A2], 8vo, 1922. est. £500-£700
"Significantly scarcer than the previous [cloth-backed boards edition]". Rosove.
Sold for £800

883. [Davis (John King)] "Aurora" Relief Expedition, Report of Voyage, first edition, 2 maps, one partly coloured in outline, creased throughout, small tear to head of title, original printed wrappers, browned and creased, stamp on cover 'ex libris R.N. Rudmose-Brown', [Spence 353], folio, Melbourne, 1918. est. £1000-£1500
Rare. Robert Neal Rudmose-Brown (1897-1957, polar explorer, geographer and book collector).
Sold for £6000

888. Scott (Capt. Robert Falcon) Scott's Last Expedition, 2 vol., second edition, 2 folding maps, plates, printed slip regarding maps, bookplate in vol.I, original cloth, slightly damp-affected and bumped, t.e.g., 8vo, 1913.
est. £100-£150
Sold for £90

889. Shackleton (Ernest H.) The Heart of the Antarctic, 3 vol., comprising The Heart of the Antarctic, 2 vol., first edition, number 193 of 300 copies, 2 tipped-in photogravure frontispieces and 12 tipped-in colour plates all with captioned tissue guards, 4 double-page photographic plates, 271 photographic illustrations on 195 plates, diagrams, maps, plans & graphs in the text, including 9 full-page, 3 folding maps and 1 folding plate containing 2 panoramic views in pocket at end of vol.II, silk markers, some light foxing, original full vellum with gilt penguins vignette on upper covers, 1909; The Antarctic Book. Winter Quarters 1907-1909, only edition, one of 300 unnumbered copies, signed by all sixteen members of the Shore Party, 4 mounted colour portraits from crayon drawings, 6 original etchings by George Marston, original vellum-backed boards, slight darkening toward top edge of boards, 1909, all t.e.g., others uncut, minor spotting, slight whitening to spines, but overall a fine set, 4to.
est. £10000-£15000
An excellent deluxe edition of one of the preeminent works on Polar exploration.
Sold for £13000

890. Shackleton (Ernest H.) The Heart of the Antarctic, 2 vol., first trade edition, half-titles, colour plates with captioned guards, photographic plates, lacking maps, hinges and second half-title crudely reinforced, contemporary library buckram, 4to, 1909.
est. £80-£120
Sold for £95


To be held Thursday 25 September 2008, at 10:30 am at London, King Street.

The catalogue arrived yesterday. Sparser and lighter than in recent years: 163 lots with only 31 being polar. Equally disappointing is there is little that is fresh and exciting. Far too many lots that we've seen before in the past few years at Christie's polar sales: The Nimrod's visitor book; a Shackleton Burton-on Trent lecture poster; an illuminated presentation vellum leaf from City of Manchester to Scott; a Shackleton wax cylinder record; Abbott's New Testament; Levick's journal (highest estimate £50,000-70,000); a typescript of Brocklehurst's Nimrod journal.
Cherry-Garrard's sledging flag is new (though it sold at Sotheby's in 2003); estimate: £30,000-50,000. Lot 139—a first appearance, I believe: 32 stereo views of the Nimrod expedition (est. £5,000-7,000). Only three book lots: two association items of marginal interest and a South Polar Times, although only volume III.
Perhaps the exciting glory days of polar—particularly Antarctic—sales of a few years ago are now over. Sic transit gloria mundi.
—R. Stephenson
(28 August 2008)

RESULTS: Only 9 of the 31 polar lots sold, the priciest lot by far being Cherry-Garrard's sledge flag at £37,250 (including the buyer's premium) against an estimate of £30,000-50,000. The runner up: The visitors book from the Nimrod (Lot 137), £20,000 (estimate of £7,000-10,000). Others selling: Photographs from the Second Antarctic Relief Expedition (Lot 134), £6,250; England's album of Second Antarctic Relief Expedition photographs (Lot 135), £3,750; studio portrait of Shackleton (Lot 142), £2,500; Shackleton lecture poster (Lot 143), £6,875; Abbott's Bible (Lot 146), £1,500; a Murray Levick letter (Lot 152) £5,000 (his journal—Lot 151—remains unsold yet again); and a Marston sketch (Lot 160), £1,750.


To be held Thursday 3 April 2008, at 10:30 am at Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York. Web: Previews: Sat, March 29 (10-4), Mon, March 31 to Wed April 2 (10-6). For further information: Telephone: 212-254-4710. Tobias Abeloff. E-mail:

The polar books—more Arctic than Antarctic—are described as "chiefly from the Collection of Dr. Elmer Pfefferkorn" and comprise Lots 92-152. (Pfefferkorn was a professor at Dartmouth Medical School.) The condition of many lots could be described as "well used." Those of Antarctic interest include:
Results including buyer's premium (20%) shown in italics.

093. Amundsen. The South Pole. London, 1912. First edition. Estimate: $1,000-2,000. $1,200
103. Byrd. Alone, New York, 1938. Limited to 225 numbered and signed copies. Estimate: $150-250. $425
104. Cherry-Garrard. The Worst Journey in the World, London, 1922. First Edition. Estimate: $1,500-2,500. $1,300
112. Joyce. The South Polar Trail, London, 1929. First Edition. Estimate: $400-600. $550
117. Mawson. The Home of the Blizzard, London, 1915. First English Edition. Inscribed. Estimate: $2,000-3,000 $3,600.
142. Sailor Stories and Songs, Concord, NH, 1853. "Nautical tales and verse, including 2 items of Antarctic interest." [A new one on me.] Estimate: $400-600. $425
145. Shackleton. The Heart of the Antarctic, London, 1909. First English Edition. Deluxe issue with the 'Antarctic Book.' Estimate: $15,000-25,000. $26,000
146. Shackleton. The Heart of the Antarctic, London, 1909. First Trade Edition. Estimate: $250-350. $140
147. Shackleton. South, London, 1919. First Edition. Estimate: $1,000-2,000. $2,800
152. Wild. Shackleton's Last Voyage, London, 1923. First Edition. Estimate: $400-600. $1,000

(16 March 2008)


To be held Thursday 23 January 2008, at Dawson & Nye, Morris Plains, New Jersey. For further information: Telephone: 973-984-6900. E-mail: Web:

At the beginning of the second day of this two-day sale, the polar—largely Antarctic—library of the late E. Imre Friedmann, Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor and Director, Polar Desert Research Center, Florida State University, will be sold. The Antarctic lots are 701-716, 718-723, 724-736, 746-790. There are some quite good titles here with what seem, in most cases, overly low estimates. (The explanation might lie in the somewhat dodgy condition of many of the lots.) The catalogue descriptions are very extensive and well done, and most lots are illustrated on the house's website.
Results including buyer's premium (18%) shown in italics.

Highlights include scarce first editions of, among others,

705. Voyage to the Cape of Good Hope, Anders Sparrman, 1789 est $800-1,000 $1,298
706. The Worst Journey in the World: Antarctic, 1910-1913, Apsley Cherry-Garrard est $800-1,000 $2,596
707. Through the First Antarctic Night, Frederick Cook, 1900 est $500-700 $767
708. The Home of the Blizzard, Sir Douglas Mawson, 1915 est $600-800 $1,770
709. Voyage de la Belgica, Baron Adrien de Gerlache, 1902 est $300-500 did not sell
710. Scott's Last Expedition, 1915 est $500-700 $649
711. Voyage to the Southern Seas, Sir James Ross, 1847 est $1,000-2,000 $2,360
712. Antarctic Days, James Murray and George Marston, 1913, Edition de luxe est $3,000-5,000 $5,900
715. First on the Antarctic Continent, C. E. Borchgrevink, 1901 est $1,500-2,000 $1,062
716. Au Pays des Manchots, Georges LaCointe, 1904 est $400-600 did not sell
718. The Cruise of the Antarctic, H. J. Bull, 1896 est $1,000-1,500 $590
720. With the Aurora in the Antarctic 1911-1914, John Davis, n.d. est $600-800 $1,298
725. The South Pole, Roald Amundsen, 1913 est $500-700 $826
726. Le Francais au Pole Sud, Jean Baptiste Charcot, 1906 est $200-300 $767
727. Zum Kontinent des Eisigen Sudens, Erich von Drygalski, 1904 est $300-600 $413
728. The Antarctic Manual, edited by George Murray, 1901 est $300-500 $2,655
729. With Scott: The Silver Lining, Griffith Taylor, 1916 est $1,000-1,500 did not sell
731. From Edinburgh to the Antarctic, W. G. Burn Murdoch, 1894 est $600-800 $531
732. The Great White South, Herbert Ponting, 1921 est $300-500 did not sell
734. Die Eroberung des Sudpols, Roald Amundsen, 1912 est $400-600 did not sell
. . . and several books by Sir Ernest Shackleton, including
713. The Heart of the Antarctic, 1909 est $600-800 $295
and an exact reproduction of his famous
722. Aurora Australis, 1986 est 700-900 $2,360
723. South, 1919 est $1,500-2,000 $1,888
There is also an almost-complete set of the 1964-1975 Antarctic Map Folio series. 736. $600-800 did not sell
[which seems wildly over estimated]

—From the auction house's press release (reformatted, corrected, edited and with additions).
Also, a Cook second voyage, several editions of Wilkes, a variety of not-often-seen foreign language 'heroic age' titles, and at the end of the sale, many combined lots of lower-priced, mostly more recent titles.
—R. Stephenson and also thanks to Lisa Ramaci, Senior Cataloguer, Dawson & Nye.
(16 January 2008)

Results: Most lots that sold did so close or over the high estimate. Highest price for an Antarctic lot was Cook's Second Voyage at $6,490 (estimate $3,000-5,000). Quite a few Antarctic lots were either withdrawn or did not sell.
(26 January 2008)


To be held Wednesday, 19 December 2007, Bloomsbury Auctions, 24 Maddox Street, Mayfair, London. Web:

Sale 635, Lot 463 is an interesting profile photographic portrait of Shackleton by Walter Benington. (Also in the same lot, one each of J.B. Priestley and Ellen Terry, signed in pencil.) In the background is visible a map of Antarctica showing Shackleton's route during the Nimrod expedition. See the on-line catalogue to view an image. Ca. 285x215mm. Estimate: £120-180.

(13 December 2007)

Result: The lot went for £320, presumably excluding the buyer's premium.


To be held Tuesday 27 November 2007, Salisbury, England. For further information: Patrick Bogue on 01258 488838 or 07831 473400 Onslow Auctions Ltd., The Coach House, Manor Road, Stourpaine, Dorset, DT11 8TQE, UK. E-mail: Web:

A silver plate napkin ring with the logo of the National Antarctic Expedition 1901 (Discovery) is to be auctioned at Onslows, part of the Maritime Collection of Paddy Mummery. It's Lot 371 and carries a £100-150 estimate. Lot 85 is a set of 5 crystal decanters, one of which is engraved 'RRS Discovery.' Estimate for the 5 is £30-50. Both lots are illustrated on Onslow website.

—Provided by Patrick Bogue.
(23 November 2007)

Results: Prices realized have yet to appear on the Onslow's website. I've e-mailed the house with no response.


To be held Monday 15 October 2007, Sale 2124. Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York. Web: E-mail:

Lot 14 is a Herbert Ponting photograph "The 'Terra Nova' Icebound in the Pack", carbon print, 29-3/4 by 21-3/4 inches. 1911, printed 1914. Estimate $15,000-20,000.

Result: The lot did not sell.

—R. Stephenson.
(23 November 2007)


Held Wednesday 26 September 2007, King Street, London.

I missed this sale as I was out of the country and the catalogue hadn't arrived before I departed. I did have a quick look at the online catalogue while travelling. The printed version was amongst my mail on return and it's a hefty volume of 499 pages, beating out the Quentin Keynes sale of 7 April 2004 (464 pages). Of the 553 lots, 327-381 were Antarctic related plus two Cook second voyage lots. Art, artifacts and photographs far outnumbered books. Several lots appeared in earlier sales and were either being consigned by new owners or were previously unsold and were being offered again. Here are some highlights with the prices realized in bold (including the buyer's premium of 25% on the first £10,000, 20% above that).
Lot 23. Robert F. Scott's autograph log as a midshipman, 1883-87. (This has appeared in previous Christie's sales more than once.) Estimate: £10,000-15,000. £20,900 [This lot went to SPRI].
Lots 324-333. These lots were termed the Cyril Longhhurst Collection. Longhurst was the secretary of Scott's Discovery expedition.
Lot 324. 31 letters by Scott and one signed to Sir Clements Markham. Estimate £15,000-25,000. £17,300.
Lots 325-328 comprised letters from Shackleton. The 4 lots together were estimated at £9,000-14,000 and fetched together £20,250.
Lot 329. Letter from Edward Wilson. Estimate £1,000-2,000. £3,500.
Lot 330. Two very nice Wilson watercolours, from the looks of them never published before. Estimate £8,000-12,000. £22,100.
Lot 331. Silver cigarette box presented to Longhurst by Captain Scott. Estimate £4,000-6,000. Did not sell.
Lot 332. Presentation copy of first edition of Voyage of the Discovery, inscribed by Scott. Estimate £1,800-2,500. A whopping £8,750.
Lot 333. A group of letters relating to the Discovery Expedition. Estimate £1,000-1,500. £4,375.
Lot 336. Hartley Ferrar's skis from the Discovery expedition. Estimate £3,000-5,000. £6,000.
Lot 341. James Dellbridge's Polar Medal, Discovery expedition. Estimate £6,000-8,000. £6,875.
Lot 342. 92 photographs by John Donald Morrison chronicling the relief voyage of the Morning. Estimate £3,000-4,000. £10,000 [This lot went to SPRI].
Lot 345. Shackleton's cigarette ration case. Estimate £3,000-5,000. £6,250.
Lot 351. Arthur Harbord's polar medal, Nimrod expedition. Estimate £6,000-8,000. £6,875.
Lot 355. The Harry Dickason collection, comprising autograph manuscript journals, notes, photographs and sketches relating to the Northern Party of the Terra Nova expedition. This important collection was estimated at £20,000-30,000. £46,100. The second highest bid for Antarctic material.
Lot 360. Cherry-Garrard watercolour of Mount Erebus. Estiamte £700-1,000. £6,875. [Mine looks like a bargain at £100 back in 1971.]
Lot 365. Birdie Bowers' photographs (6) taken at the South Pole. Carbon prints. Estimate: £20,000-30,000. £24,500.
Lot 366. Oates' sleeping bag case. Estimate: £30,000-40,000. Did not sell. Not surprising; it was only the case, for heaven's sake. Throw in the bag (it's at SPRI) and it would have sold well.
Lot 371. Amundsen's waterproof matchbox holder. Estimate £700-1,000. £5,625. Pretty high.
Lot 375. Alexander Lorimer Kennedy's field hockey stick (AAE 1911-13). Estimate: £1,500-2,500. £1,500. For a hockey stick!!!
Lot 378. An album of 18 Frank Hurley gelatin silver photographic prints (also 12 by C. Veiga), last sold at Christie's, 17 September 1998, Lot 209 (£10,350). Estimate: £15,000-20,000. £54,500. Highest of the Antarctic lots; seems to have been a good investment for those who think that way.
Lot 381. A very nice oil painting by Edward Seago. (Almost looks like Cape Wild, Elephant Island, although the title is 'Black Cape, Antarctica.') Estimate: £10,000-15,000. £13,700.
Total proceeds of the sale, including buyer's premium: £2,560,750.
—R. Stephenson
(6 October 2007)


Sale 361 to be held Thursday 9 August 2007 at 1 pm. Further information: PBA Galleries, 133 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108. Toll-free Tel: 1-866-999-7224. Web:

Prices realized including the buyer's premium are shown in bold below (Note: PBA Galleries's buyer's premium is 15%).

There are six lots in this sale of interest to Antarcticana collectors:
Lot 43. Charcot, Jean Baptiste. Le ''Francais au Pole Sud'' Journal de L'expedition Antarctique Francaise, 1903-1905. First Edition. Estimate: $250-350. $460

Lot 59. Debenham, Frank. The Voyage of Captain Bellingshausen to the Antarctic Seas, 1819-1821. Hakluyt Society, 1945. Estimate: $400-600. $863

Lot 149. Morrell, Benjamin A Narrative of Four Voyages to the South Sea, North and South Pacific Ocean, Chinese Sea, Ethiopic and Southern Atlantic Ocean, North and South Pacific Ocean, Chinese Sea, Ethiopic and Southern Atlantic Ocean, Indian and Antarctic Ocean. From the Year 1822 to 1831. New York, 1832. First Edition. Estimate: $200-300. $184

Lot 191. Shackleton, E.H. The Heart of the Antarctic: Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909. Philadelphia, 1909. First American Edition. Estimate $400-600. $403

Lot 222. Webster, W.H.B. Narrative of a Voyage to the Southern Atlantic Ocean. in the Years 1828, 29, 30, Performed in H.M. Sloop Chanticleer. London, 1834. First Edition. Covers detached. Estimate: $300-500. $173

Lot 226. Wilkes, Charles Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition. During the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. Philadelphia, 1845. Estimate: $10,000-15,000. $11,500


To be held Tuesday 26 June 2007, starting at 11 am. 101 New Bond Street, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7468 8351. E-mail: Web:

Prices realized excluding the buyer's premium are shown in bold below (Note: Bonham's buyer's premium is 20%).

This sale has 13 lots of Antarctic interest (and several of Arctic). It's an eclectic collection of lots but of most interest will be Lot 228—the Aurora Australis, a presentation copy from Joyce along with an autograph letter from Joyce and a Shackleton souvenir lecture program thrown in for good measure (estimate £20,000-25,000). Not only will this be the second Aurora to go under the hammer in the span of a month (see Levinson sale below), it will be the second of the rare variant issue which is thought to be the first issue. £36,000 plus premium plus tax

Other lots:
Lot 229. Birdie Bowers' four-page autograph log of his voyage on the Barque Loch Torridon from London to Adelaide, and return, setting out from London on 3 November and arriving on 22 December 1901; the return journey from 13 April to 29 June 1902. Estimate: £400-800. £1,900

Lot 230. A tobacco cutter from Discovery, crudely made from mahogany blocks, bolts and a wooden-handled carving knife, with a brass plaque engraved "Scott, Shackleton, Mawson. Made from Cabin Engines Wireless of Discovery. Presented to Padre French 1933." Estimate: £200-300. £520

Lot 232. Frank Hurley. 'The Aurora in a Blizzard', gelatin silver print, mounted [c.1911]. Estimate: £1,000-2,000. £1,200

Lot 233. Alexander Kerr's collection of lantern slides from Frank Hurley's negatives, illustrating the famous story of Endurance and her crew under the leadership of Sir Ernest Shackleton (some tinted), together with two further slides showing members of the Quest crew at the burial of Shackleton and the cairn erected on South Georgia, contained in a wooden slide box. Estimate: £10,000-15,000. Did not sell

Lot 235. Menu signed by Shackleton and his companions after their rescue from Elephant Island by the Chilean Navy in 1916. Estimate: £1,000-2,000. £4,000

Lot 237. William G. Burn Murdoch. From Edinburgh to the Antarctic. An Artist's Notes and Sketches during the Dundee Antarctic Expedition of 1892-93, FIRST EDITION, 1894. Estimate: £300-500. £300

Lot 238. James Murray and George Marston. Antarctic Days. Sketches of the Homely Side of Polar Life by Two of Shackleton's Men. Illustrated by the Authors ... introduced by Sir Ernest Shackleton, NUMBER 192 OF 280 COPIES OF THE EDITION DE LUXE, signed by Shackleton and the authors, 1913. Estimate: £2,000-3,000. £2,900

Lot 240. National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904, 12 vol. (complete), FIRST EDITION, numerous plates (photogravure, chromolithographed, half-tone, and others), folding panoramas, blindstamps, one volume WITH A NOTE BY CLEMENTS MARKHAM, and 2 autograph letters signed by him loosely inserted, 1907-1913. Estimate: £2,000-4,000. £2,000

Lot 241. Herbert G. Ponting. The Great White South. Being an Account of Experiences with Captain Scott's South Pole Expedition and of the Nature of Life of the Antarctic, 1921. Estimate: £200-400. £200

Lot 242. James Clark Ross, A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions, During the Years 1839-43, 2 vol., FIRST EDITION. Estimate: £1,000-2,000. £1,400

Lot 243. 'Stormonth Tait "Discovery" Port Wine Shipped by Stormonth Tait Co., Oporto... the only port wine selected by the Antarctic Expedition for the use on board the "Discovery" and the relief vessel "Morning"', a full bottle of port, cork intact with lead seal, 2 printed labels (title as above, and 'Also Supplied to The Shackleton Rowett Expedition S.S. "Quest", 1921"). Estimate: £200-400. £220

—R. Stephenson
(7 June 2007)

Thanks to David Wilson for bringing this sale to my attention.

UPDATE: Prices seemed a bit tame with only the Birdie Bowers log and the Shackleton menu (and of course the Aurora) substantially exceeding estimates. Of course, the star of the sale was Lot 228, the Aurora Australis including some additional material. It brought £36,000 (ca. $72,000) which with the 20% buyer's premium brings the total to £43,200 or ca. $86,400. This is a bit short of the record for the Aurora at auction which was £53,000 a year ago in Newcastle at the Anderson & Garland sale. But it does exceed by a bit the $84,000 that the Levinson copy brought last month at Swann.

—R. Stephenson
(26 June 2007)


To be held Thursday 24 May 2007, at 1:30 pm at Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York. Web: Previews: Sat, May 19 (10-4), Mon, May 21 to Wed May 23 (10-6), Thurs May 24 (10-noon).

This entire sale will be devoted to the Arctic and Antarctic collection of Dr. John Levinson, prominent Delaware collector. Among the highlights will be an Aurora Australis. Also some artifacts.

UPDATE: As of 1 May the catalogue has yet to appear, either in hard copy or on Swann's website. But I was sent a proof of the catalogue and from an Antarctic perpective it includes nearly all the highpoints including an Aurora Australis and a South Polar Times. It will be a catalogue well worth the price of $30 (the entire sale is polar and the catalogue is illustrated in color throughout).

Here's a partial and abbreviated listing (Antarctic Lots 89-164):
Prices realized excluding the buyer's premium are shown in bold below (Note: Swann's buyer's premium is 20%).

89. Marra, Journal. [Estimate $8,000-12,000] $18,000
90. Cook. Complete set of first editions. 9 volumes. [25,000-35,000] $28,000
92. Weddell, Voyage. 2nd edition. [2,500-3,500] $4,000
93. Morrell, Narrative of Four Voyages. [300-400] $150
96. Wilkes, Narrative. 6 vols. Third issue. [4,000-6,000] $6,000
98. Ross, Voyage of Discovery. [2,000-3,000] $3,400
99. McCormick, Voyages of Discovery. [1,500-2,500] $2,400
101. Murdoch, From Edinburgh to the Antarctic. [800-1,200] $1,200
102. Bull, The Cruise of the 'Antarctic.' [1,000-1,500] $1,300
104. Cook, Through the First Antarctic Night. [500-750] $2,400
105. Borchgrevink, First on the Antarctic Continent. [400-600] $900
106. Bernacchi, To the South Polar Regions. Signed. [2,000-3,000] $5,200
109. Nordenskjöld, Antarctic Tva Ar bland Sydpolens Isar. [1,000-1,500] $1,600
111. Nordenskjöld, Antarctica. [500-750] $900
112. Murray, The Antarctic Manual. [3,500-5,000] $4,000
113. Scott, Voyage of the 'Discovery.' [300-400] $1,100
114. South Polar Times. 3 vols [15,000-20,000] $20,000
115. Armitage, Two Years in the Antarctic. [300-400] $850
116. Doorly, Voyages of the 'Morning.' [2,000-3,000] $2,000
120. Aurora Australis. 'Veal' copy. [50,000-75,000] $70,000
122. Shackleton, Heart of the Antarctic. Edition de luxe. 3 vols. [12,000-18,000] $22,000
126. Murray and Marston, Antarctic Days, Edition de luxe. [4,000-6,000] $12,000
127. Charcot, Voyage of the 'Why Not.' [500-750] $850
128. Amundsen, Sydpolen. [800-1,200] $5,000
129. Amundsen, The South Pole. [800-1,200] $3,600
131. Priestley, Antarctic Adventure. [600-900] $2,000
132. Levick's surgeon's kit. [3,000-4,000] $5,200
133. Taylor, With Scott: The Silver Lining. [400-600] $200
135. Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey. [1,500-2,500] $5,200
137. Lashly, Diary. [8,000-12,000] $15,000
138. 'Terra Nova' china plate. [3,000-4,000] $2,200
141. Mawson, Home of the Blizzard. [400-600] $800
144. Shackleton, South. [600-900] $2,000
145. Joyce, The South Polar Trail. [400-600] $550
146. Hurley, Argonauts of the South. [200-300] $850
148. Wild, Shackleton's Last Voyage. [300-400] $550
(1 and 28 May 2007)

UPDATE: The catalogue arrived yesterday. It is very nicely done, well-written with estensive bibliographic cites. All the illustrations are in color.
The catalogue is also now up on Swann's website. See it at

UPDATE and RESULTS: This was an exciting auction with results that surely pleased both the consignor—John Levinson—and the auction house, Swann Galleries.

The whole thing started the night before when Swann held a very pleasant reception. John said a few words, followed by myself who spoke on Antarctic collecting, and then David Stam, doing the same thing for the Arctic. There were well over a hundred there, no doubt more for the wine and eats then to hear the speakers.

At the reception: George Lowry, Rob Stephenson, John Levinson, David Stam and Nicholas Lowry.
Photo courtesy of Swann Galleries.

At the auction on the following day, there were fewer in the room but still a respectable attendance. Among those I recognized were the collectors Martin Greene and Michael Rosove and the dealers David Lilburne (Antipodean Books) and Greg Glade (Top of the World Books). I'm sure there were other dealers in the room but I would guess most there were collectors.

David Lilburne and Martin Greene on the left;
David Stam and Greg Glade on the right
(Jeremy Markowitz, who prepared the catalogue, right rear).

Nicholas Lowry (son of George who bought the business from Ben Swann 30 or so years ago and who I remember when I attended sales at the old location a block away and bought Antarctic books at prices that will never be seen again) was the auctioneer. I must say he did a superb job. Good steady delivery, a touch of humor here and there ("March of the Penguins right to the bank" he said of Lot 128, Sydpolen, which fetched $5,000 against an estimate of $800-1,200), a steady penetrating eye that cut through the reticence of most bidders and only one close shave when he almost knocked down Lot 154 for a hundred presumably misreading his order bids (it went for $2,000 in the end).

Nick Lowry conducting the sale.
Jeremy Markowitz at the far right.

So how did things turn out?
• Sixty-nine of the 76 Antarctic lots sold. Two were passed (did not sell) although I thought there were more than this that went unsold. And five were withdrawn. (Lowry announced during the sale that these lots, all artifacts, had been withdrawn by Dr. Levinson and were being donated to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.)

• The total take for the Antarctic lots came to $260,335 not including the buyer's premium.

• To no one's surprise, the star of the sale, pricewise, was the Aurora Australis which fetched $70,000 ($84,000 with the buyers premium; the runner-up was the complete set of Cook which fetched $28,000). This price is just below the record for an Aurora which was set on 21 March 2006 at the Anderson & Garland sale in Newcastle upon Tyne. That copy went for £53,000 including the buyer's premium or about $92,000 (which if the sale had been held today would be about $106,000).

• Prices were nearly uniformly high against the estimates: 71% of the Antarctic lots sold above the high estimate; 19% sold between the low and high; and only 10% sold below the low estimate.

• The lot that exceeded its estimate by the greatest relative amount was 124, a little-known Souvenir of the "Nimrod" which was bought at $2,400 against an estimate of $100-150, 24 times the low estimate. (I was bidding for an English friend who told me not to exceed $250!)
What were some of the other surprises:
• Lot 89, Marra's Journal, was quite strong at $18,000 (estimate $8,000-12,000).

• Lot 104, Frederick Cook's Through the First Antarctic Night, $2,400 against an estimate of $500-750.

• Lot 106, Bernacchi's To the South Polar Regions, $5,200 (estimate $2,000-3,000).

• Lot 113, Scott's Voyage of the "Discovery," which was estimated at $300-400. It brought $1,100 which is quite high for a first American edition not in the best of condition.

• Lot 118, Charcot's Française, fetched a very high $3,400 (estimate $500-700).

• Lot 122. The De Luxe edition of Shackleton's Heart of the Antarctic with the Antarctic Book brought $22,000 against an estimate of $12,000-18,000.

• Lot 126. Murray's Antarctic Days, De Luxe edition, $12,000 (estimate $4,000-6,000).

• Lot 128. Amundsen's Sydpolen, $5,000 (estimate $800-1,200).

• Lot 135. Cherry-Garrard's Worst Journey brought a very respectable $5,200 (estimate $1,500-2,500).

—R. Stephenson
(28 May 2007)

UPDATE: I received some figures from Swann today: The sale total including Buyer's Premium was $536,981. (The hammer total was $447,290.) The estimates for the sale ranged from $234,600 to $345,975. According to the buyer codes, nearly all successful bidders were collectors, a handful were dealers (perhaps buying for collectors) and one was an institution (Dr Levick's surgeon's kit).
—R. Stephenson
(29 May 2007)

UPDATE: A lengthy and well written article on the sale by Jeanne Schinto appeared in the August 2007 Maine Antiques Digest. It appears on pages 40B-43B.
(19 August 2007)


Sale 355 to be held Thursday 10 May 2007 at 1 pm. Further information: PBA Galleries, 133 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108. Toll-free Tel: 1-866-999-7224. Web:

This sale has few Antarctic lots. The ones I noticed:

Prices realized including the 15% buyer's premium are shown in bold below.

150. A lot of 6 volumes (Byrd, Richard E. Skyward. First Trade Edition. [1928] * Byrd, Richard E. Little America. First Trade Edition. [1930] * Siple, Paul. Scout to Explorer: Back with Byrd in the Antarctic. First Edition. [1936] * Seaver, George. Edward Wilson of the Antarctic. First American Edition. [1937] * Byrd, Richard E. Alone. First Trade Edition. [1938] * Bertram, Colin. Arctic and Antarctic: The Technique of Polar Travel. First Edition. [1939]. Estimate: $300-500. $184

151. Ponting, Herbert G. In Lotus-Land Japan. Estimate: $100-150. [Not Antarctic but of interest because of Ponting.] $92

153. Priestley, Raymond E. Antarctic Adventure: Scott's Northern Party. (New York) Estimate: $200-300. $161

168. Rymill, John. Southern Lights: The Official Narrative of the British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-1937. Estimate: $300-500. Did not sell

173. Shackleton, Ernest. South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition, 1914-1917. Estimate: $2,000-3,000. [No explanation appears to explain this overly high estimate.] $3,163

FRANK R. STREETER LIBRARY To be held Tuesday 17 April (6pm) and Wednesday 18 April (10am and 2pm), 2007. Christie's, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York. Sale No. 1820. Tel: 1-212-636-2000. Web:

RESULTS: This two-day sale totalled $16,421,820, a tidy sum. All but two Antarctic lots exceeded the upper estimate (the two exceptions fell between the high and low). It will be interesting to see if this strength continues next month at the Levinson sale at Swann.

Here's a report from an eyewitness: "I was at the Streeter sale—prices verged on the ridiculous at times. That is, common Northwest Passage or Franklin search books in mediocre condition selling for record prices, at times well above retail. And not for books from his father's library. And the truly rare material, particularly the Dobbs Middleton material, sold well beyond that. Among the Antarctic material, the lot that garnered much attention was the set of Cook that had a separate atlas volume for the second voyage, rarely seen that way."
(24 April 2007)

Prices realized including the buyer's premium are shown in bold below.
007. Amundsen, The South Pole. London, 1913. Est: $1,000-1,500. [$4,200]

132. Crozet, Nouveau Voyage a la Mer du Sud, Commencé sous les orders de M. Marion. On a Joint a ce Voyage Un Extrait de celui de M. de Surville dans les mêmes Parages.. Paris, 1783. Est: $4,000-6,000. [$10,800]

172. Dumont D'Urville, Voyage au pole sud et dans l'océnie sur les corvettes l'Astrolabe et la Zélée. Paris, 1841-46. Est: $4,000-6,000. [$10,800]

187. Fanning, Voyages Round the World; with Selected Sketches of Voyages to the South Seas, North and South Pacific Oceans, China, etc. New York, 1833. Est: $800-1,200. [$1,320]

194. Forster, A Voyage Round the World, in His Britannic Majesty's Sloop, Resolution, commanded by Capt. James Cook, during the Years 1772, 3, 4, and 5. London, 1777. Est: $3,000-4,000. [$8,400]

298. Kerguelen, Relation de deux voyages dans les mers Australes & des Indes, faits en 1771, 1772, 1773 & 1774. Paris, 1782. Est: $10,000-15,000. [$12,000]

345. Marra, Journal of the Resolution's Voyage, in 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775. On Discovery to the Southern Hemisphere ... also a Journal of the Adventure's Voyage, in the years 1772, 1773, and 1774. London, 1775. Est: $6,000-8,000. [$9,000]

448. Ross, A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions During the Years 1839-43. London, 1847. Est: $2,000-3,000. [$7,800]

520. Wales and Bayly, The Original Astronomical Observations, made in the Course of a Voyage towards the South Pole, and Round the World, in His Majesty's Ships the Resolution and Adventure, in the Years MDCCLXXII, MDXXLXXIII, MDCCLXXIV, and MDCLXXV. London 1777. Est: $6,000-8,000. [$18,000]

526. Weddell, A Voyage towards the South Pole performed in the Years 1822-24... and a Visit to Tierra del Fuego. London, 1825. First edition. Presentation copy from the author. Est: $6,000-8,000. [$7,800]

528. Wilkes, Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, during the Years 1838-42. Philadelphia, 1845. Est: $1,000-1,500. [$5,040]

547. [POLAR TRAVEL]. A group of 26 volumes relating to Polar travel, including: HILLARY, Edmund and Vivian FUCHS. The Crossing of Antarctica. The Commonwealth Trans-Atlantic Expedition 1955-58. London, 1958; MUIR, John. The Cruise of the Corwin. Boston and New York, 1917; MARKHAM, Albert Hastings. Life of Sir John Franklin and the North-West Passage. London, 1891; CROFT, Andrew. Polar Exploration. London, 1947; WILLIAMS, Glyndwr. The British Search of the Northwest Passage in the Eighteenth Century. London, 1962. — and 21 others. Est: $600-800. [$1,560]

—R. Stephenson
(25 March and 21 April 2007)


To be held Thursday 25 January 2007. Check website for time. Further information: PBA Galleries, 133 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108. Toll-free Tel: 1-866-999-7224. Web:

RESULTS: The prices realized, including 15% buyer's premium, are shown below in bold. Prices were mainly within or above the estimates. By far the priciest item in the whole sale was Lot 186, the first edition of Cherry-Garrard in dustwrappers: $14,950! I expect this is the highest price ever reached at auction for this Antarctic classic.
—R. Stephenson
(26 January 2007)

This sale (no 347) has many Arctic and Alaska titles but also some Antarctic books. Lots 179-204 are Antarctic, as well as 233, 264 and the last lot, 338. Also a few Cook lots. Here are a few of the offerings:
179 and 180. Amundsen, The South Pole, both NY 1913. Est: $400-900. $1,035 and $488
183. Bull, Cruise of the Antarctic, London 1896. Est: $1500-2000. $1,035
185. Charcot, Voyage of the 'Why Not?', London 1911. Est: $1000-1500. $747
186. Cherry-Garrard, Worst Journey in the World, London 1922. First Edition with the dustwrappers. Est: $5000-8000. $14,950
187. Cook, Through the First Antarctic Night, NY 1909. Presentation copy signed by Cook. Est: $300-500. $632
188. Davis, With the 'Aurora' in the Antarctic, London 1919. Est: $800-1200. $747
190. Hurley, Argonauts of the South, NY 1925. Est: $300-300. $345
191. Mawson, Home of the Blizzard, London 1915. Est: $800-1200. $805
193. Burn Murdoch, From Edinburgh to the Antarctic, London 1894. Est: $1000-1200. $920
196. Priestley, Antarctic Adventure: Scott's Northern Party, NY 1915. $400-700. $700
200. Shackleton, Heart of the Antarctic, London 1909. Est: $400-600. $690
201. Shackleton, South, NY 1920. Est: $400-600. $230
203. Thomson, Voyage of the 'Challenger,' NY 1878. Est: $300-500. $373
204. Wild, Shackleton's Last Voyage, London 1923. $400-600. $805
233. Jenkins, Voyage of the U.S. Exploring Squadron, Auburn 1850. Est: $300-500. $172
264. Wilkes, Narrative of the U.S. Exploring Expedition, Philadelphia 1845. 5 vols. Est: $500-800. $978
338. Byrd. 'Little America' Admiral Byrd's South Pole Game [board game]. ca. 1934. Est: 100-150. $288
—R. Stephenson
(6 January 2007)


To be held Thursday 26 October 2006, Cheffins, Clifton Road, Cambridge, UK. Web:

Raymond J. Adie was deputy director of BAS between 1974 and 1985.

RESULTS: Prices realized are given below, presumably hammer prices and not including the buyer's premium. Most prices were higher than the estimates, some several times. The highest price was for the Ross (lot 435) which went for £3,600, closely followed by the 2 of 3 volumes of the South Polar Times (lot 497) which fetched £3,400.

Lots 435-503 comprise this collection. The condition of the lots was generally not very good. Many of the titles came to Adie from R.N. Rudmose-Brown. Among the highlights, with estimates (prices realized in bold):
435. Ross, Sir James Clark. A Voyage of Discovery and Research . . . First edition London 1847. Raymond Priestley's copy with his bookplate. Estimate £2,000-3,000. [£3600]

436. Wild, Frank. Shackleton's Last Voyage. Extra illustrated with some photographs. Estimate £200-300. [£900]

437. Scott, Robert Falcon. The Voyage of the Discovery. First edition. Along with Hunter Christie The Antarctic Problem. Estimate £200-300. [£460]

439. Borchgrevink, C.E. First on the Antarctic Continent. Rudmose-Brown's copy. Estimate £150-200. [£380]

440. Amundsen, Roald. The South Pole. Rudmose-Brown's copy. First Edition. Estimate £500-800.[£800]

441. Davis, John King. With the Aurora in the Antarctic along with Mawson, Home of the Blizzard. Presentation copies to Rudmose-Brown. Estimate £400-600. [£850]

442. Burn Murdoch, W.G. From Edinburgh to the Antarctic, An Artist's Notes and Sketches. . . Hugh Robert Mill's copy. Estimate £200-300. [£480]

445. McCormick, R. Voyages of Discovery in the Arctic and Antarctic Seas. . .. Rudmose-Brown's copy. First Edition. Estimate £200-300. [£1100]

447. Murray, James and George Marston. Antarctic Days. Rudmose-Brown's copy. First Edition. Estimate £100-150. [£420]

447. Bernacchi, Louis. To the South Polar Regions. First Edition. Estimate £100-150. [£750]

448. Rudmose-Brown, R.N., et al. The Voyage of the Scotia. First Edition. Estimate £150-250. [£480]

452. Shackleton, Sir Ernest. The Heart of the Antarctic. First edition. Estimate: £100-150. [£180]

455. Nordenskjold, Otto. Antarctica. London 1905. Estimate £200-300. [£380]

460. Joyce, Ernest. The South Polar Trail. First Edition. Estimate £100-150. [£300]

461. Shackleton, Sir Ernest. South. First edition. Estimate: £200-300. [£1400]

465. Doorly, Gerald S. The Voyages of the Morning. Estimate £200-300. [£1200]

468. Aagaard, Bjarne. Fangst og Forskning I Sydishavet, Oslo: 1930-1934, 3 volumes in 4. Presentation copy to Rudmose-Brown. Along with Bagshawe, Thomas Two Men in the Antarctic. Estimate: £300-400. [£180]

472. Priestly, Raymond. Antarctic Adventure: Scott's Northern Party. First edition. Estimate: £200-300. [£280]

474. Mulock, Lieutenant G.F.A. The Charts of the Discovery Expedition. Estimate: £800-1,200. [£2000]

493. Charcot, Jean. Le 'Francais' au Pole Sud. First edition. Estimate: £200-300. [£300] A second copy (lot 496) signed by Charcot went for £360.

494. Charcot, Jean. Le Pourquoi-Pas? dans l'Antarctique. . .. First edition. Estimate: £300-400. [£460]

495. Charcot, Jean. The Voyage of the Why Not? in the Antarctic. First edition in English. Estimate: £200-300. [£460]

497. The South Polar Times, Vols II and III only. Estimate £3,000-5,000. [£3400]

499. National Antarctic Expedition, Scientific Results. 4 vols of 12 but including the Album of Photographs and Portfolio of Panoramic Views. Estimate: £300-500. [£1600]

500. Bruce, W.S. Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of S.Y. Scotia. . . Vols 2-6 of 7. Estimate: £300-500. [£460]


To be held Wednesday 27 September 2006, King Street, London.


Ninety Antarctic lots comprised this sale, 20 of which did not sell. Lot 225 (the Hurley photographs) fetched the highest bid, £120,000, nearly 4 times the low estimate. The next highest were the Amundsen photographs (208) which sold at £78,000. (All prices include the buyer's premium.) The least expensive lot was 213 which went for £420 (a Nansen title). The greatest differential between estimate and price was lot 206, Amundsen's sledging medical kit. It was estimated at between £1000 and £2000 but brought £18,000.
—R. Stephenson
(28 September 2006)
My printed catalogue arrived yesterday, the usual large and well-produced Christie's effort. The Antarctic lots are 144-234. Among those that caught my eye (prices realized, including buyer's premium, in bold):
149. Pastel and watercolor portrait of James Clark Ross. Rather amateurish looking but described as "the earliest portrait of the polar explorer." Estimate £6,000-8,000. Did not sell

162. Michael Barnes' World Atlas "with his ink annotations." Only of interest to me because I saw this last year at Sotherans. Thought about it but passed. Estimate £700-1,000. £1,560

171. Gregory Robinson's large watercolor of The Nimrod under tow from the Koonya. Appearing for at least the third time in recent sales. Estimate £7,000-10,000. Its estimate in the 21 September 2005 sale was £10,000-15,000 and it did not sell. It sold at the 17 September 1999 for £8,625 including premium. Did not sell. Expect we'll see it again.

173. Marston oil painting "Aurora Australis." Of interest because it's painted on venesta board and the back of the painting has stenciled lettering. This is the same material used for binding the book "Aurora Australis." Estimate £15,000-20,000. £19,200

181. "Aurora Australis," Antarctica's first book. "Presented to Mr. Charls Cooper / by one of the Printers / Ernest E. Joyce / May 12th 1910." £30,000-40,000. A copy sold in March for £53,000 including premium (see below). At Christie's a year ago, a copy brought £30,000 including premium, and at the Discovery Book Auctions sale of 14 September 2005, a better copy fetched $53,438 (see below). £33,600

201-220. Lots consigned by Anne-Christine Jacobsen, Roald Amundsen's Great-Niece. Of interest to me because I and some other Antarcticans saw some of these items when we enjoyed a memorable dinner at her house in Oslo. I will be watching closely to see what Lot 215 fetches: "Amundsen's bayonet carried on the Lincoln Ellsworth expedition 1925-26 . . . used by Amundsen to build the 500 meter long and 12 meter wide runway on the ice for the N25 in June 1925." I have a smaller knife that Amundsen gave Ellsworth and in Ellsworth's hand he writes that they used it to fashion the runway. Estimate £500-1,000. Did not sell

208. The Amundsen Photographs. 250 "direct positive glass lantern slides" which were the subject of Roland Huntford's book, "The Amundsen Photographs." These involve three expeditions: Northwest Passage, South Pole and Maud. Estimate: £30,000-50,000. The highest estimate in the Antarctic section of the sale. £78,000

222. Amundsen's "Sydpolen," in the original 40 parts, uncut and unopened. Estimate £5,000-7,000. £5,040

225. An album of Hurley photographs given by Shackleton to Janet Stancomb Wills, a key sponsor. Seventy-nine gelatin silver prints. Estimate: £25,000-35,000. £120,000

233. Admiral Byrd's Inuit fur-lined anorak. Of interest here because it just sold at an auction not far from me on 25 May 2006 (see below), fetching $3,850. Estimate £6,000-8,000. If it reaches its estimate this will be a decent return on investment. £6,600. Indeed, a good return.

—R. Stephenson
(12 September 2006)


UPDATE: "This year's sale (Exploration and Travel with The Polar Sale) is on 27 September, viewing from Friday 22 September, and includes The Amundsen Collection, relics of the explorer from the collection of his great niece, Anne-Christine Jacobson—this includes The Amundsen Photographs—Amundsen's lantern slides of the South Pole expedition, and of his Gjøa and Maud expeditions—(the subject of Roland Huntford's book), along with Nimrod expedition material from the collection of Dr Eric Marshall, Hurley photographs, etc. The catalogue will be online from next week (sale 7261). Next year's sale is scheduled for 26 September."
—Thanks to Nick Lambourn
(2 September 2006)

". . . some interesting things in already including J. C. Ross's chronometer from HMS Erebus used to survey Ross Sea in 1839; Dr Marshall's camera and some original glass negatives from Nimrod (including Farthest South image); a great Marston (Aurora Australis as illustrated in Heart of the Antarctic - showing Aurora above hut at Cape Royds); good Hurleys, etc."
—Thanks to Nick Lambourn
(23 January 2006)


To be held Thursday 25 May 2006.

This sale features a sealskin parka once owned by Admiral Richard E. Byrd, deaccessioned from the Smithsonian Institution. Four photos appear under 'Preview 1.' No lot number or estimate is given.

The sale will be held at Vernon Hill Post 435 American Legion, 267 Providence Street, Worcester, Massachusetts, beginning at 6pm.
Preview from 3pm
Tel: 508-612-6111

—R. Stephenson
(21 May 2006)

RESULTS: "The coat sold for $3850."


To be held Tuesday 21 March 2006. Further information: Anderson & Garland, Anderson House, Crispin Court, Newbiggin Lane, Westerhope, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE5 1BF
Tel: +44 (0) 191 430 3000. Fax: +44 (0) 191 430 3001. Email:

Lot 683:

Shackleton (Ernest Henry) Aurora Australis, 4to, original leather-backed venesta packing-case boards stencilled "MARMALADE" (with neatly restored leather hinges to the inside covers, the original outer spine complete with "Sign of the Penguins" and title stamps) 107 leaves, including blanks and including titlepage "Printed at the Sign of the Penguins; by Joyce & Wild. Latitude 77 deg.. 32 minutes south longitude 166 deg.. 12 minutes east Antarctica", colour frontispiece and 11 lithographs and etchings by George Marston; published at the Winter Quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907, during the winter months of April, May, June and July 1908: a presentation copy dedicated by Shackleton "To Lady Grey from the Editor, E.H. Shackleton, June 1910".

NB: This work was the first book completely printed and produced on the Antarctic Continent. In 1907 Shackleton embarked on an expedition to Antarctica aboard the Nimrod in an attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole. Having already visited the polar regions with Robert Falcon Scott on the Discovery Voyage 1903-04, Shackleton recognised the importance of maintaining moral among crew members during the dark winter months; and so to keep boredom at bay, the expedition took with them a printing press, an etching press, quantities of paper and ink and other materials needed to write, typeset, illustrate and bind a full-length publication. This book was produced under extremely difficult conditions in the cramped hut at Cape Royds on Ross Island - the expedition's base and home to fifteen men. Frank Wild and Ernest Joyce had learned the essentials of printing in England prior to departure, but with outdoor temperatures of minus 50 deg. or less, and indoor temperatures often below freezing, they had to move a candle back and forth under the ink plate to keep the ink from freezing solid. Expedition artist George Marston illustrated the volume with etchings and colour lithographs. Crew biologist James Murray, working on his specimens alongside Marston's etching press, noted "I've seen him during a whole night pull of half a dozen wrong ones for one good print, and he did not use so much language over it as might have been expected". Bernard Day, the expedition's motor mechanic, bound the book using venesta board - an early form of plywood - from packing cases to make book covers. These boards often bear stencilled letters indicating the original contents of the packing cases such as bottled fruit, chocolate, or as in this case, marmalade. They then used old pony harness and seal skin for the spine and hinges which secured with cords.

About 100 copies were produced; the exact figure is unknown as copies were not numbered. Of these it is thought about 25 to 30 were bound as in this example. The contents also differ somewhat from copy to copy.

Although produced mainly for presentation to members, friends and backers of Shackleton's expedition, relatively few copies are in fact signed or inscribed in any way; this copy is dedicated to Viscountess Grey, wife of the fourth Earl and one time Governor General of Canada.


(From the firm's website:

—Thanks to Paul Youngs
(13 March 2006)

RESULTS: The Aurora went for £46,000 which with the buyer's premium took it to £53,000 or ca. $92,000, probably the highest an Aurora has ever sold for at auction. This is far in excess of its £10,000-18,000 estimate and quite a bit higher than the copy in the September 2005 Christie's sale (£30,000, including buyer's premium, ca. $52,000) and the Discovery Book Auctions copy ($53,437, including the buyer's premium). Here's what was said in the local paper yesterday:

Polar book is sold off for £53,000

By Tony Henderson, The Journal

A book printed in the Antarctic which ended up in a Northumberland stables yesterday became the most expensive volume to be sold in the North-East.

One of only 100 produced at explorer Ernest Shackleton's overwintering base, it was sold for £53,000 by Newcastle auction house Anderson & Garland.

What is technically the first book printed in the Antarctic had been signed by Shackleton to Lady Grey, the wife of Albert Henry Grey, 4th Earl Grey whose family seat was Howick Hall in Northumberland.

And it will be staying in the North-East as a Northumberland polar enthusiast beat off national and international interest, including bids from New York and Canada.

The book's covers are made from the thin wooden packing of a crate which contained marmalade and pony harness and seal skin were used for the binding. The 1908 British Antarctic Expedition was the second of four to the South Pole by Shackleton.

He took a small printing and etching press to relieve boredom and keep up morale during the long winter months holed up in the expedition base. Team members wrote items, illustrated by lithographs and etchings.

Auction house book specialist John Anderson discovered the book, which was sold by a descendant of Lady Grey, in a tea chest in stables.

He said: "It was a privilege to handle a book which resonates with history. It is an evocative rarity. Not only is the book phenomenally rare, but Shackleton did not sign every book, but he did sign this one to Lady Grey."

The books, never numbered, are known by the stenciled descriptions of what the packing cases contained, such as the chocolate, bottled fruit and coffee editions.

—From The Journal. 23 March 2006

—R. Stephenson
(24 March 2006)


To be held Wednesday 9 November 2005 commencing at 11 am. Dominic Winter Book Auctions Ltd., The Old School, Maxwell Street, Swindon, Wiltshire. Telephone : +44 (0) 1793 611340. Facsimile : +44 (0) 1793 491727. Email: Web:

Prices realized in bold.

Davis (John K.). With The 'Aurora' in The Antarctic 1911-1914, 1st ed., 1919, b&w plts., maps, etc., some minor marginal foxing, orig. dark blue cloth gilt, spine lightly dulled (generally a good copy), 8vo. £200-300. £360

Mawson (Sir Douglas). The Home of the Blizzard, Being the Story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914, 2 vols., 1st ed., 1915, photogravure frontis. to each vol., b & w and col. plts. from photos., diags. and few single-page maps, three folding maps in rear pocket of vol. 2, orig. dec. cloth, 4to. £300-400. £460

Scott (Captain R.F.). Scott's Last Expedition, ed. Leonard Huxley, 2 vols., 1st ed., 1913, half-title and photogravure frontis. to each, numerous col. and b & w plts. and illusts., incl. many from photos., panoramas, maps and charts etc., spotting throughout, t.e.g., orig. cloth gilt, upper joint of vol. 1 split, large. 8vo, together with Peary (Robert E.), The North Pole, 1st ed., 1910, b & w plts. from photos, folding map loosely inserted (creased & closed tears to folds), slight ink staining to lower edges of pages, occ. spotting, orig. cloth gilt, ink marks to covers, 4to, with Wild (Frank), Shackleton's Last Voyage. The Story of the Quest, 1st ed., 1923, col. frontis., b & w plts. from photos, inner joints split, library label to lower pastedown, orig. gilt dec. cloth rubbed to extrems., large 8vo. £100-150. £100

Scott (Captain Robert F.). The Voyage of the 'Discovery', 2 vols., 1st ed., 1905, b & w frontis. to each vol. and b & w plts., folding map at rear of each vol., occ. scattered spotting, contemp. half morocco gilt, extrems. slightly rubbed, 8vo, together with Shackleton (E.H.), The Heart of the Antarctic, being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909, 2 vols., 1st ed., 1909, b & w frontis. to each vol. and b & w plts. from photos., contemp. half morocco gilt, extrems. slightly rubbed, 8vo, with Amundsen (Roald), The South Pole, An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the "Fram" 1910-1912, 2 vols., 1st ed., 1912, b & w frontis. to each, b & w plts., two folding maps, occ. scattered spotting, contemp. half morocco gilt, extrems. slightly rubbed, 8vo. £150-200. £580

Shackleton (Sir Ernest). South, The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition 1914-1917, 1st ed., 1919, col. frontis., b & w plts. from photos, folding map at rear, pink ink staining to plt. facing p.229 (also with closed tear to lower margin), ink wash marks to upper margins of pp.162-163, 229, 306-307 & 322-323, pages browned and some spotting throughout, orig. cloth, large 8vo The 1st ed. was printed on poor quality paper. Spence 1107. £300-500. £480

Oates (Lawrence Edward Grace, 1880-1912). Autograph Letter Signed ('L.E.G. Oates'), Gestingthorpe Hall, Castle Hedingham, Essex, n.d., holograph envelope postmarked 28th August 1909, to Mrs William H. King, telling of his safe arrival him after a very comfortable journey and recommending the steamer to Fleetwood, then telling of the harvest being put back by the wet, then 'I hope and trust William has ceased to smell of whisky since I left', and thanking her for her kindness in putting him up, 2 pages with integral blank, sm. 8vo, sellotape stains to top and bottom margins of blank leaf and to upper edge of envelope 'Titus' Oates applied to join Captain Robert Falcon Scott's second ill-fated Antarctic expedition and in March 1910 learned that he had been accepted. Famously his last words as recorded by Scott were, 'I am just going outside and may be some time'. £100-150. £240

Shackleton (Ernest Henry & Cope, John Lachlan). Typed letter signed 'E. H. Shackleton', on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition letterhead, 6th August 1914, to J. Cates [of British Petroleum Oil Company], in which Shackleton notes that 'I have been compelled to abandon the idea of taking a supply of petrol from this country owing to the small size of the Endurance and to the strong representations of her captain', saying that he has made alternative arrangements and apologising for not being able to take up his very generous offer, date correct as manuscript, together with a series of three autograph letters signed on British Imperial Antarctic Expedition letterhead, two signed by Expedition Commander John L. Cope and one signed by Secretary, Ph. Partington, 1st-12th November 1919, all to British Petroleum, the first requesting a meeting for an interview, the second agreeing the meeting of Cope and Mr. Screeton, and the last post-meeting, 'I have calculated that we shall require 280 tons of refined kerosene and 26 tons of spirit for use during the five years we shall spend in the Antarctic', all four letters struck through in pencil and two with ink receipt stamps, sl. chipped at right margins, 1 pp., 4to, together with a rare printed prospectus for the British Imperial Antarctic Expedition, [1919], 16 pp., orig. stapled printed wrappers, with some related pencil and coloured pencil notes to upper cover [by a B.P. official noting the amount of kerosene and spirit requested by Cope], sl. soiled and strong vertical fold, large slim 8vo.

John Lachlan Cope had been a member of Shackleton's Ross Sea Shore Party (1914-17), and then planned the British Imperial Antarctic Expedition on a grand scale involving some fifty people, with a budget of œ100,000. The money was not forthcoming and the objectives were therefore changed dramatically, leaving only the exploration and mapping of the Weddell Sea coast. Finally, a party of just four men was assembled with no ship and inadequate supplies of equipment, food and research tools set off. The nominal leader was John Lachlan Cope with Hubert Wilkins as his second. These two quickly abandoned the expedition, altogether when they realised the unrealistic aims of their project. The remaining two personnel, Maxime Charles Lester and Thomas Bagshawe remained in Graham Land for one year throughout the winter of 1921/22. The SPRI Archives own the original document of the prospectus by Cope which includes testimonials from W. S. Bruce and others. This printed version of Cope's ambitious plans is very rare, with only one other copy traced at Manchester University.
Illustrations Available. £700-100. £1150

—Thanks to Chris Albury
(1 November 2005)


21 September 2005 at King Street, London. There are two sales on this date, Exploration and Travel with the Polar Sale at 2:00 pm and the P.R. Sandwell Collection of Pacific and Arctic Voyages in the morning at 11:00 am. Viewing for both sales from Friday the 16th. See the catalogues and view the results at

The afternoon sale—with 70 Antarctic lots—will be of most interest to Antarcticans, but the morning sale does have a few items that are worth a look.

P.R. Sandwell Collection of Pacific and Arctic Voyages

Lot 31. James Cook. A Voyage towards the South Pole...1777 First Edition, along with A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean...1785 Second Edition. Estimate £4000-6000. Price including buyer's premium: £4800.
Lot 32. The Forsters. A Voyage round the World...1777 First Edition. (Cook's second voyage). Estimate £2500-3500. Did not sell.
Lot 33. Johann Reinhold Forster. Observations made during A Voyage Round the World on Physical Geography, Natural History...1778 First Edition. Estimate £1500-2000. Price including buyer's premium: £1560.
Lot 76. Dumont D'Urville. Voyage de la corvette l'Astrolabe...1830-35. Complete set, in all 23 volumes. Estimate £30,000-50,000. The Antarctic highlight of the sale. Did not sell.
Lot 78. James Clark Ross, A Voyage of Discovery...1847 First Edition. £1500-2000. Price including buyer's premium: £3000.
Lot 81. Charles Wilkes. Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition...1845. First trade edition. 5 volumes and atlas. Estimate £3,000-5000. Did not sell. (see below)
Exploration and Travel with the Polar Sale:
A large number of the Antarctic lots are ones that appeared in earlier Christie's sales and either did not sell or have been consigned again. The most notable of these is probably Scott's silk sledge flag, Lot 373, estimated at £38,000-45,000. (It brought £30,000 in the Polar Sale of September 1999 and appeared again in the Polar Sale of September 2002, failing to reach its reserve. At that sale the estimate was £40,000 to 60,000.)
Here are some of the offerings that caught my eye:
Lot 328. Charles Wilkes. Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition...1844-45. The rare first, official Congressional issue, one of only 100 sets printed. Estimate £4000-6000 (a bargain!) Price including buyer's premium: £19,200. (At the estimate it would have been a bargain!
Lots 332 and 355. Two Edward Wilson watercolors. Estimates £2000-4000 and £4500-5500. Prices including buyer's premiums: £4560 and £5400.
Lot 339. The visitor's book used aboard Nimrod August 1907 - June 1909. Includes signatures of expedition members and crew. Estimate £10,000-15,000. (Sold at Polar Sale of September 1998 for £9200 against estimate of £3000-5000.) Did not sell.
Lot 340. Painting by Gregory Robinson, The Nimrod under tow from the Koonya. Estimate £10,000-15,000. (Sold at Polar Sale of September 1999 for £7500 against estimate of £10,000-15,000.) Did not sell.
Lot 341. George Marston. Sledging camp in a blizzard. Oil on board. Estimate £9000-10,000. Price including buyer's premium: £9600.
Lot 342. Shackleton's navigational marching compass from Nimrod expedition. Estimate £4000-6000. Price including buyer's premium: £38,400. (Way over estimate.)
Lot 343. Ernest Shackleton. Heart of the Antarctic. Edition deluxe, with The Antarctic Book. Estimate £7000-10,000. Price including buyer's premium: £9000.
Lot 345. Aurora Australis. Estimate £25,000-35,000. Price including buyer's premium: £30,000.
"SIR ERNEST HENRY SHACKLETON (1874-1922), EDITOR. 1908-09 Aurora Australis. East Antarctica: published at the winter quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition, printed at the 'The Penguins' by Joyce and Wild, 1908. 4° (260 x 195mm). Chromolithographic title, 10 lithographic or etched plates by G. Marston (of a possible 11), penguin device repeated throughout in brown or orange. (Lacks the plate 'In the Stables' and Contents leaf, one plate detached, some text leaves partially detached or with short tears around punch holes, without the final printed leaf, 'A Giant Tick Was Investigating the Carcase', known to exist in only a few copies.) Bound by Bernard Day in original sheep-backed packing-case boards, inside lower cover stencilled 'BEANS' and back cover '[JULIE]NNE SOUP', uncut (rebacked, preserving old spine with title and penguin device in blind) Provenance: Louis Bernacchi by direct descent."

A much inferior copy to the one offered by Discovery Book Auctions, although the Bernacchi association is desirable.

Lots 359-368. These 10 lots relate to PO Patrick Keohane, a member of the Terra Nova expedition. Among the items: Lot 359, Keohane's sledge harness (£2000-3000) Price including buyer's premium: £6000; Lot 360, his sledging outfit (£1000-2000) Price including buyer's premium: £6600; Lot 361, his sledging goggles (£2000-3000) Price including buyer's premium: £8400; and Lot 367, his photo album with 28 photographs (£3000-5000) Price including buyer's premium: £7200.
Lot 370. Gregory Robinson. A gouache of Captain Oates walking from the tent to his death. Estimate £1000-1500. (Oates is posed as though he's out for a walk on the moors!) Price including buyer's premium: £1080.
Lot 376. South Polar Times. 3 vols. Estimate £3000-5000. (Discovery Book Auction's copy—Lot 244—is estimated at $12,000-15,000. A better copy by far.) Did not sell.
Lot 383. Frank Hurley. Album of 79 carbon prints, Endurance expedition. Estimate £25,000-35,000. Price including buyer's premium: £30,000.
Lot 390. Rev Arnold Spencer-Smith's Ross Sea Party typescript copy of his journal. Estimate £1800-2500. Did not sell.

For information contact Tom Lamb, or Nicholas Lambourn,

—R. Stephenson
(4 September 2005)


14 September 2005, Calgary, Alberta.

This will be the first sale of a new auction house, a joint venture of Discovery Book Auctions is a joint venture of Cameron Treleaven, proprietor of Aquila Books, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Bob Finch, formerly dba High Latitude Books of Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA.
The website ( describes the house as planning "occasional book auctions featuring fine and rare books, ephemera and artifacts in the fields of world travel and exploration, ships & the sea, mountaineering, and true adventure." The mid September sale "...will feature the travel & exploration collection of Michael Porter of Sooke, B.C., Canada, with additions."

Plus many, many other 19th - early 20th century arctic & antarctic and world exploration narratives too numerous to mention. The complete catalogue will be available on line at this web site about August 1st, 2005, and a printed copy will be available by air post for $10 US or $12 Canadian. Visa and Mastercard accepted. For further information, please contact us by phone or email.
—R. Stephenson
(10 April 2005)

UPDATE: The catalogue is now on the Discovery Book Auctions website ( The sale begins at 1:30 pm MDT at the Calgary Winter Club, 4611-14th Street N.W., Calgary.

Lots 1-111 are 'Arctic & Alaska'.
Lots 112-260 'Antarctic'.
Lots 261-270 Polar.
Lots 271-322 'World Exploration'.

Only Antarctic lots are commented on below.

Many of the lots consist of multiple titles, in some cases 30 or more.

Estimates and prices are in US dollars. Prices realized are from the Discovery Book Auctions website.

154. Bernacchi - To South Polar Regions - 1901. Estimate $800-1,200. Hammer price: $1,900
155. Borchgrevink - First on Antarctic Continent - 1901. Estimate $800-1,000. Hammer price: $850
157. Brown, R.N. Rudmose, et al - The Voyage of the 'Scotia' - 1906. Estimate $750-1,000. Hammer price: $850
173, 174. Cherry-Garrard - Worst Journey in the World - 1922 2 vols 1st edition. Estimates $2,000-2,500. Hammer price: $3,200; Lot 174 did not sell.
175. Cook - Voyage Towards South Pole - 2 vols 1777 1st edition. Estimate $4,000-6,000. Hammer price: $6,500
176. Cook - Through First Antarctic Night - 1900. Estimate $300-400. Hammer price: $375
179. Davis - With the Aurora in the Antarctic - 1919. Estimate $800-1,200. Hammer price: $650
181, 182. Doorly - Voyages of the Morning - 1916. Estimates $3,000-4,000. Hammer price: $2,200. Lot 181 did not sell.
198, 199. Hurley - Argonauts of the South - 1925. Estimates $400-700. Hammer price: $850; $425
201, 202, 203. Joyce - South Polar Trail - 1929. Estimates $500-1,000. Hammer price: $450; $600; $400
208. Mawson - Home of the Blizzard - 2 vol 1st US ed. in dust jackets. Estimates $2,000-3,000. Hammer price: $2,100
214A. Murray - The Antarctic Manual. Estimate $1,500-2,000. Hammer price: Did not sell.
216. Nordenskjold - Antarctica - 1905. Estimate $800-1,200. Hammer price: $1,000
224. Priestley - Antarctic Adventure - 1914. $600-800. Hammer price: $450
228. Ross - Voyage of Discovery & Research - 1847 2 vols. Estimate $2,000-2,500. Hammer price: $2,400
232. Scott - Voyage of the Discovery - 2 vols 1905, Estimate $1,750-2,500. Hammer price: Did not sell.
242. Shackleton - South - 1919 1st edition. Estimate $2,000-3,000. Hammer price: $1,900
243. Aurora Australis - 1907. 'Oatmeal' copy. Estimate $50,000-70,000. Hammer price: $47,500
244. South Polar Times, 3 vols. Estimate $12,000-15,000. Hammer price: $20,500
245. South Polar Times, 3 vols. Estimate $6,000-8,000. Hammer price: Did not sell.
255. Weddell - Voyage Towards South Pole - 1827. Second edition. Estimate $1,700-2,200. Hammer price: $2,000
256. Wild - Shackleton's Last Voyage - 1923. Estimate $300-400. Hammer price: $225
266. McCormick - Voyages of Discovery in the Arctic and Antarctic Seas... - 1884. Estimate $3,000-4,000. Hammer price: $3,000
—R. Stephenson
(18 August 2005)

Lot 243—the highpoint of the sale—is a copy of the Aurora Australis. (There's also a copy in the Christie's sale on 21 September.) Here's the description from the catalogue:

"243. Shackleton, Ernest H., editor. AURORA AUSTRALIS. Printed at the Winter Quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907, during the Winter Months of April, May, June, 1908. Illustrated with Lithographs and Etchings, by George Marston. Printed at the Sign of the 'Penguins': by Joyce and Wild. Latitude 77 ... 32' South. Longitude 166 ... 12'East, Antarctica. Small 4to. 107 unnumbered leaves, incl. 10 blanks and 11 full page illus. These include 7 lithographs, 2 of which are mounted and one printed in brown ink, and 4 etchings. Title printed in blue & black, then 7 leaves of preliminaries incl. 2 blanks, followed by 10 chapters, each with separate title leaf printed in red. In addition, 8 of the plates have separate caption leaves, also printed in red, the other 3 captions being on one leaf. In original 3 ply beveled packing case boards, uncut, leaves punched & laced with cord. Inner front board stenciled "OATMEAL". Inner rear board stenciled "ISH ANTARCT.... EDITION 190".
A very fine, completely unsophisticated copy, with no repair or restoration, and none needed. The spine leather is just slightly rubbed, there is stain (or possibly a defect in the leather) just above the ending "A" in the blindstamped "Aurora" in spine title, but no cracking or flaking, inner joint leather & cord lace in original condition, no pulling of punched holes in text leaves. - in all a very superior copy, possibly one of the finest in existence. Laid in a custom curved back morocco & cloth foldover Solander box.
Rosove 304.A1b. This copy purchased by consigner at a Sotheby's Auction in London in 1976. See Colour illustration."
The Christie's copy (see below) is estimated at $45,000-62,000.

—R. Stephenson
(4 September 2005)

UPDATE: From our on-site correspondent—

"My general observations were these:

All 14 lots of Arctic scenery pottery (lots 9-22) passed. Most combo lots of inexpensive books (whether Arctic or Antarctic) passed, even though the estimates (and thus reserves, which were 75% of the low estimate) were reasonable.

Average material generally sold below or within the estimate range, seldom above, and if so, not by much.

Very good material, especially if condition or provenance were attractive, did very well.

I wouldn't want to conclude anything about the general activity of the polar book market from this sale because much of the material was average. If anything, the market for better quality material was strong, and in a few instances, unrelenting.

The Aurora Australis (lot 243) was a very nice, unrestored copy, without signatures or provenance, and it brought $47,500 (plus the 12.5% buyer's premium). The South Polar Times (lot 244) was an acceptable set, not as pristine as described, and it brought $20,500 (plus the buyer's premium). As for "best performance by an Antarctic book", measured as multiples of the estimated range, these were a copy of the rare 1929 edition of Amundsen's The South Pole (lot 114, estimate $150-250, hammer $425), a neatly restored 4th edition of Fanning's 1838 book Voyages to the South Seas with pencil inscription by the author (lot 188, estimate $1,000-1,500, hammer $4,000), and a fine 1st edition of Marr's 1923 Into the Frozen South with a chipped and stained dustwrapper (lot 205, estimate $250-350, hammer $1,600). These realizations do not include the 12.5% buyer's premium.

All the lots were present for viewing at Cameron's Aquila Books bookshop. The auction took place at the very pleasant Calgary Winter Club where Bob and Cameron were very generous hosts. Following the afternoon sale, Cameron and Bob hosted a wine and cheese party at the Aquila Books bookshop, and the atmosphere was spirited and jovial.

All together on the floor there were about 25 people. Bob and Cameron were representing absentee bidders, and bids came in by telephone and e-bay.

Dealers present included (beside Bob and Cameron) Bernie Lauser, Chet Ross, Helen Kahn, Eric Waschke, and Bjarne Tokerud."

(18 September 2005)

UPDATE: From an e-mail kindly sent by Bjarne Tokerud, Bookseller, who was at the sale—

"One bookseller, a very active bidder, was missed in your correspondent's list: Patrick McGahern (ABAC/ILAB) of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He purchased numerous costly items, presumably for stock.

The on-site correspondent missed one notable event: a mystery private buyer who spent approximately $100,000 on a variety of Arctic, Antarctic and North West Pacific voyages.

Furthermore, I estimated an audience of 32-35, although some were obviously spectators. In all, I believe about 9-10 people gathered up most of the highlights of the auction.

The person who purchased the Aurora Australis commented to me (after the sale), "I would have paid $70,000 for it, if I had had to." I am not sure if he consulted the Christie's catalogue beforehand, or if he had had a chance to see a digital image of the book on offer in London, but for the money, he obtained a far superior copy, in my opinion, if condition was an issue. The financial vote on the association copy, with attendant wear and flaws, said that it was worth about the same.

The Discovery Book Auction could not have taken place without the consignment of Mr. Michael Porter of Sooke, B.C. It is unfortunate that Discovery Book Auctions revealed nothing about this collector and why he chose and collected the books that were consigned. He collected Antarctic, Arctic, Canadiana and the important voyages concerned with the Pacific North West.

Many dealers were curious about the ramifications of bidding in "real time" against bidders logged in to I-Collector and Ebay Live Auctions. World wide bidding! Collectors from afar could now join in!

We needn't have worried. The few lots that I saw knocked down to the computer, were usually under $500 hammer price.

As for those lots that did not sell, I suppose one can blame the pre-sale estimates which, as some remarked, resembled full retail prices. There were few condition issues, in general, so I wouldn't point the finger at this factor.

Perhaps the crowd that collects Antarctica is now more senior in age, with the buyers willing to spring for the rarities. However, good books seem to go begging, or achieve normal wholesale results.

In all, it was a fun event, especially on the eve of the Christie's EXPLORATION AND TRAVEL SALE AND THE POLAR SALE held a week later."

(18 September 2005)


20 April 2005, Christie's South Kensington, London. Sale at 2 pm; viewing from the 16th.

There are four polar lots (42-45) of which three are Antarctic. Pictured in the catalogue is no 44, a watercolour by R.C. Herbert of what appears to be Discovery alongside ice with men, dogs and penguins in the foreground. Estimate of £800-1200. Also a watercolour by Herbert R. Cole of the Terra Nova leaving Port Chalmers (£200-400) and a photograph by Grossmann of the crew of the Discovery (£300-500).
—R. Stephenson
(10 April 2005)


23 September 2004, London. Viewing from the 17th.

UPDATE: A brochure on the sales arrived today. The sale on the 22nd, at London Queen Street, is billed as 'The Polar Sale' "celebrating the centenary of the return of Scott's Discovery to London in September 1904. No details yet except the description: "Pictures, photographs, books, manuscripts, artefacts and relics from the great ages of Polar exploration in the early 19th and 20th centuries." Enquiries: Nicholas Lambourn,
The sale on the 23rd is at both King Street and at South Kensington, travel other than (presumably) the polar regions. On the 7th of April there's also a sale at King Street (The Quentin Keynes Collection, Part I: Travel) [see above] and on 23 April at South Kensington, Exploration and Travel, again (presumably) non-polar. Catalogues can be viewed at

UPDATE: The two sales have been combined. Whereas there were to be two days, 22 and 23 September, with the Polar Sale on the 22nd; there is now a single combined sale on the 23rd. An unfortunate change as I fly home on the 23rd. Do I pay $175 to change my flight or give it a miss. I thought I'd wait to see the catalogue which arrived on Friday. The Antarctic lots are numbers 147 through 226. Several have appeared at recent Christie's sales and either didn't sell or are being sold again. Here are a few lots that caught my eye:

Lot 152. A small Norwegian flag made by Nicolai Hanson's mother. Hanson, a member of Borchgrevink's 'Southern Cross' expedition, was Antarctica's first recorded death. (£6,000-8,000). (£5,975)
Lot 153. Scott's autograph log book from his midshipman days is being offered again. (£20,000-30,000). (Did Not Sell)
Lot 154. A collection of naval papers of Charles Royds. (£25,000-35,000). (Did Not Sell)
Lot 174. A mixed set of the 'Voyage of the Discovery,' vol I a presentation copy from Scott to his mother; vol II to his sister, "Monsie." (£6,000-8,000). (Did Not Sell)
Lot 176. A 3-volume set of the 'South Polar Times,' vol I with a presentation inscription from Scott to his mother. (£10,000-15,000) (£10,755). Another set (lot 199) is estimated at £5,000-8,000. (Did Not Sell)
Lot 177. What appears to be a very nice 6-foot long model of the 'Discovery.' (£2,000-3,000). (Did Not Sell)
Lot 179. Silver bowl presented to Scott on his marriage from members of the wardroom of the 'Discovery.' (£25,000-35,000). (£31,070)
Lots 186, 216, 217, 220. Some nice George Marstons (lots 186 (Did Not Sell), 187 (£3,824), 216, 217 and 220 (£1,792)). 216 (£6,572) & 217 (£33,460) show the "Endurance' trapped in the ice. (£6,000-8,000 and £30,000-40,000). Both were in earlier Christie's sales: one made more this time, the other less.
Lots 168, 200, 203. Three Edward Wilsons (lots 168 (£5,377), 200, 203 (£5,019)). Lot 200 is particularly nice. It's of Birdie Bowers reading observations on the Ramp. (£8,000-12,000). (£9,560)
Lot 201. A Bowers' 12-page letter to Scott reporting on the loss of the ponies on the sea ice, which seems low at £1,500-2,000. (£10,177). (SPRI lost out on this one.)
Lot 219. Hussey's manuscript journal from the 'Endurance' expedition. (£30,000-50,000, the highest estimate of the Antarctic lots). (£41,825) This was the highest price paid in the polar section of the sale. The lowest price: Lot 144 at £101, a Nansen/Amundsen silver commemorative spoon against an estimate of £300-500.
To view the catalogue go to ?sid=&strNextPrevious=N&intSaleID=18740&intObjectID=4347969
—R. Stephenson
(29 August 2004)

UPDATE: I attended the sale, among the few that did. I counted 31 in the room when the polar lots came up. Among those I recognized: Alexandra Shackleton, Bob Headland (SPRI), Richard Kossow, David Wilson, Wendy Driver, and the booksellers John Simper (Explorer Books) and Hugh Bett (Maggs). Does the low attendance signify anything? Who knows, although I did hear comments such as "very soft" and "the trend is down" and similar. Of the 92 polar lots (mostly Antarctic, 80 of the 92), 29 or 31.5% didn't sell. This is better than the Silverman sale two years ago (54% unsold) though not as good as last year's sale when only one Antarctic lot went unsold.

I've added in bold above the prices realized including the buyer's premium (now at 19.5%).

How did prices break down by lot type (Antarctic only, i.e. 80 lots):

Photographs including Albums and Slides (21 lots or 26%) — 3 sold above low estimate; 7 below the low estimate; 1 at low estimate; 10 did not sell (48%).
Books and Maps (19 lots or 24%) — 6 sold above low estimate; 6 sold below low estimate; 4 sold at low estimate; 3 did not sell (16%).
Artifacts, Medals, Ship Models, Records and Wire Recordings (14 lots or 18%) — 4 sold above low estimate; 4 sold below low estimate; 1 sold at low estimate; 5 did not sell (36%).
Art and Prints (13 lots or 16%) — 2 sold above low estimate; 8 sold below low estimate; 3 sold at low estimate. None not sold.
MSS/Letters/Diaries (9 lots or 11%) — 3 sold above low estimate; 1 sold below low estimate; 1 sold at low estimate; 4 did not sell (44%).
Ephemera (4 lots or 5%) — All 4 sold below the low estimate. None not sold.
Total Antarctic: 18 sold above low estimate (22.5%); 30 sold below low estimate (37.5%); 10 sold at low estimate (12.5%); 22 did not sell (27.5%).

—R. Stephenson
(28 September 2004)


Thursday 22 April 2004, Bloomsbury Book Auctions, Bloomsbury House, 24 Maddox Street, London W1.

Apparently the unknown or little known unpublished diary of Albert Armitage, a member of Scott's Discovery expedition, is due to be auctioned in Bloomsbury's 'Natural History, Travel & Topography' sale on 22 April.

The Times of London had this article by Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent, in its 29 March 2004 issue:

By Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent

THE discovery of unpublished diaries has for the first time revealed the strained relations between Scott of the Antarctic and his second in command.

Captain Albert Borlase Armitage, navigator and magnetic observer of the SS Discovery under Robert F. Scott, recorded in meticulous detail one of the most arduous and hazardous tests of human endurance: the Antarctic expedition of 1901 to 1904.

The manuscript relates how clashes and quarrels between two hardened men became so acute that Scott wanted to expel Armitage from the expedition. Their rivalry reached a climax over Scott's apparent fears that a member of his team might outshine him by wanting to explore further towards the South Pole than anyone had previously managed.

The damp-stained and dog-eared volume was described by historians and explorers yesterday as "an extraordinary piece of polar history".

The Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, the world's premiere polar library, is now desperately trying to raise money to save it for the nation. No one had known of the journal's existence until it surfaced from a private collection. Its anonymous owner is to sell it at Bloomsbury Auctions in London on April 22, where it is estimated to fetch between £30,000 and £40,000.

Scott (1868-1912) went on to lead the expedition to the South Pole, where he arrived in January 1912 only to find that Roald Amundsen had beaten him by little more than a month. Sickness, a shortage of food and severe weather took their toll and a search party eventually found Scott's frozen body in his tent.

Armitage's diary dates from between December 24, 1901, and January 31,1904, an heroic age of Polar exploration. In addition to the physical feat of being the first humans to explore the region, they also did valuable scientific work. Armitage was observing magnetic fields, while other members of the team were studying the wildlife, including seals and penguins.

Scott and Armitage initially had the highest respect for each other, but as the expedition wore on, their differences of opinion and rivalry descended into frustration and hostility. Armitage recorded conversations and nuances in intricate detail, only to leave readers today on tenterhooks: some of the pages after the heated exchanges have been torn out of the diary by an unknown hand.

Simon Luterbacher, manuscripts expert with Bloomsbury Auctions, said that we could draw our own conclusions as to why those passages were removed; perhaps Armitage, who lived until 1943, felt some guilt after Scott's death in 1912.

But the sour atmosphere between the two men has survived on the journal's pages.

Although diaries kept by other men on the expedition hinted at it, the full extent of the rift is revealed for the first time in Armitage's private writings. Mr Luterbacher said that Armitage omitted to mention the hostility in his book, Two Years in the Antarctic in 1905: "He was not going to mention that sort of thing," he said.

"He had to get permission from Scott to publish his own version. You are not going to put that you fell out with your captain."

In his entry for April 26, 1903, Armitage recorded his wish to take a small expedition and push it further south than Scott had done. Scott told him that "I had no idea of the difficult surface to travel over, and that he certainly did not 'smile' on the idea, and considered it to be a waste of time".

Their relationship continued to deteriorate. They squabbled, for example, over the accuracy of Armitage's chronometer readings: "The captain . . . is that kind of man who always wants 'just a little more'."

On October 8, 1903, Armitage wrote: "When the captain went to turn in I went to his cabin to ask the reason of his unfriendly manner towards me, for since his return he has hardly spoken a word to me & ignored me when I have spoken to him, or answered very briefly.

"After hesitating for a little he replied . . ." At this point the pages have been carefully removed. Eventually, Scott, at the end of his tether, wanted to send his navigator home. Instead, he banned Armitage from the sledging runs.

Scott may well have had reason to fear being undermined by his deputy, an important explorer in his own right. Armitage became the first person to penetrate the polar icecap, journeying from sea level to 9,000ft. Bloomsbury Auctions will also sell his 110-page handwritten report on that exploration.

Mr Luterbacher said: "Obviously with nearly 50 men living in close proximity in conditions of extreme hardship for a period of three years, tensions were bound to arise, egos were bound to clash and there might well have been professional jealousies."

The journal features many descriptions of the physical and mental state of the men. In one passage, referring to Sir Ernest Shackleton as he was to become, Armitage wrote: "Shackleton had been unable to do any work all the way back. He suffered from bronchial asthma and threw up blood."

"The Capt feared he would never get him back to the ship and Wilson [Edward Wilson a naturalist who died with Scott on the second expedition] assured me that it was only Shackleton's pluck that enabled him to do so. All of them, too, were attacked by scurvy . . ."

Robert Headland, curator of the Scott Polar Research Institute and an explorer who was a member of the first British Antarctic Survey in 1977, said: "It's amazing what comes out of the woodwork. A journal from the second in command is so exciting. A man's diary is always his confessional."

The sale is the first to be held in Bloomsbury Auctions' new premises at Bloomsbury House, 24 Maddox Street. London W1


Albert Borlase Armitage (1864-1943) was an important explorer in his own right (Dalya Alberge writes).
He was the first person to travel on to the polar ice cap, leading a party from Scott's 1901 expedition to 9,000ft above sea level in South Victoria Land.
On his return, he received the King's and the Royal Geographical Society's medals and was promoted to commander RNR.
He was born in Balquhidder, Perthshire, and educated privately and at the Thames Nautical Training College HMS Worcester. In 1886 he joined P&O as 5th officer and in 1897 he was lent by them to the Jackson-Harmsworth North Polar Expedition. In 1901 he was lent to Scott's National Antarctic Expedition as second-in-command and navigator and was responsible for Ernest Shackleton's appointment as an executive officer of the expedition.
During the First World War Armitage captained vessels carrying mail, troops and food, and was torpedoed in 1917 on board the Salsette.
He was married twice and retired in 1923. During the Second World War he was an air-raid precautions warden.
Initially, he had got on with Captain Scott, describing him in his diary entry for October 30,1902, as "clear-headed, amiable, and considerate".
Scott, in turn, regarded him as an excellent practical navigator, but their relationship deteriorated.
Despite Scott's animosity towards him, Armitage was popular. He was nicknamed "Pilot" by other expedition members.
The explorer Sir Clements Markham, who became President of the Royal Geographical Society which commissioned the expeditions once said: "Armitage is splendid. Quite unperturbed whatever happens, he goes on his way without hurry or excitement, but with the most painstaking exactitude. Without any particular cleverness, he possesses one of the soundest judgments I ever met with. He is universally liked and respected on board."

—Thanks to Paul Youngs
(30 March 2004)

UPDATES: "A diary by Captain Scott's second-in-command which reveals the friction between the Antarctic explorers was sold yesterday for £36,000.
The journal of Captain Albert Armitage, navigator on the Discovery, was bought by a private collector after "frantic bidding" at Bloomsbury Auctions in London."
—From The Times, Friday, April 23, 2004.
—Thanks to Paul Youngs.

Diary revealing Scott's polar rivalry sells for £36,000
Nick Foley
A diary written by Captain Scott's second-in-command which reveals the bitter rivalry between the Antarctic explorers yesterday sold for £36,000.
The faded journal of Captain Albert Armitage, the Scottish navigator on the Dundee-built Discovery, was bought by a private collector at Bloomsbury Auctions in London after "frantic bidding".
A series of bids by the Scott Polar Institute in Cambridge, which had launched a fund to buy the unpublished diary, failed, said a Bloomsbury spokesman.
It is not known whether the collector, who is believed to be from Oxford, intends to keep the diary in Britain.
Armitage's journal provides a unique insight into his deteriorating relationship with Scott and records in detail the historic and hazardous Antarctic expedition of 1901 to 1904.
The 100-page diary, which is ragged on the outside but in good condition inside, has been held privately for the past century. In it Armitage chronicles the development of his relationship with the famous explorer on their dangerous journey to the unknown continent.
He begins by saying on 30 October, 1902: "It is very agreeable to be associated with a man like Captain Scott who is at a glance clear-headed, amiable and considerate."
But he later describes tense conversations he had with Scott as their relationship deteriorated into rivalry.
This in-fighting reached a climax when Armitage suggested leading a small team to a point further towards the South Pole than Scott had ever managed - much to the great explorer's annoyance.
In his entry of 26 April, 1903, Armitage noted that Scott had told him: "I had no idea of the difficult surface to travel over; and that ... he certainly did not 'smile' on the idea, and considered it to be a waste of time."
On 8 October, 1903, as the relationship continued to sour, the explorer wrote: "When the captain went to turn in I went to his cabin to ask the reason of his unfriendly manner towards me, for since his return he has hardly spoken a word to me, & ignored me when I have spoken to him, or answered very briefly. After hesitating for a while, he replied."
Tantalisingly, that was where his entry ended. It is believed Armitage ripped out many pages from his journal after Scott's death because he felt guilty about what he had said.
Armitage was the first person to penetrate the polar ice-cap and a manuscript detailing the trip sold yesterday for a hammer price of £26,000 - nearly twice the estimated value.
Cataloguer Simon Luterbacher, from Bloomsbury Auctions, said: "I think it is one of those things that captures the British public's imagination."
—From The Scotsman, 23 April 2004.


Thursday 15 April 2004, New York, from 10:30 am. Viewing from 10 April.

One lot of interest is Cyrene Clarke, Glances at Life upon the Sea; or, Journal of a Voyage to the Antarctic Ocean in the Brig Parana of Sag Harbor, L.I. in the years '53, '54. (Lot 40.) Described in the headline as 'Rare Whaling Pamphlet.' Here's the full description:

84 pages. 12mo, original pictorial wrappers, bottom portion of backstrip missing, front cover detached, with corners chipped and institutional bookplate on verso.
Middletown: Charles H. Pelton, 1854 [front cover dated 1855]
Rare First Edition of pamphlet devoted largely to the author's experiences during a year-long voyage to the South Shetland Islands via the Azores, Cape Verde Islands, Patagonia, and the Falklands. Departing Sag Harbor in June 1853, the Parana reached the Shetlands by November and remained through early February to hunt sea elephants, returning to Long Island in June 1854. Also included are shorter narratives of earlier voyages by Clarke, the first in 1834 on the New-England out of Poughkeepsie, sailing around Cape Horn to the Galapagos Islands, and the second in 1850 on the Bengal bound for the Arctic, stopping in the Kingsmill (now Gilbert) Islands and Tasmania. Unable to go beyond Kamchatka because of the ice, the ship proceeded to Hong Kong, where Clarke obtained a discharge and joined another whaler that successfully passed through the Bering Straits to a latitude of 72°. He returned to New Bedford in 1853 on another ship from Hawaii.
Forster, The South Sea Whaler 23; not in Spence or OCLC; RLIN locates only the AAS copy; no copy has ever been listed in ABPC.
The estimate is given as $6,000/9,000.
This copy is consigned by the New Bedford Whaling Museum and constitutes a duplicate arising out of the Kendall Whaling Museum becoming part of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
—R. Stephenson
(14 April 2004)

UPDATE: The hammer price was $9,500.
—R. Stephenson
(21 April 2004)


Wednesday 7 April 2004, London, from 10:30 am. Viewing from 2 April.

A mammoth 471 page catalogue arrived not long ago. 500 lots of some very interesting books and manuscripts but only a few Antarctic items: 31. Morrell's Narrative of Four Voyages [£776]; 49. Fanning's Voyages Round the World [£956]; 55. Weddell's A Voyage towards the South Pole [£2,151]; 57. Reynolds' Pacific and Indian Oceans; or, The South Sea Surveying and Exploring Expedition [did not sell]. 58. Ross's A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions, along with Hooker's Notes on the Botany of the Antarctic Voyage [£4,541].
—R. Stephenson
(15 March 2004)

UPDATE: The total sale fetched £3,357,531. Prices for the lots above are shown in brackets (including buyer's premium).
—R. Stephenson
(24 April 2004)


A Fine Art auction sale at the salerooms of Lawrences of Crewkerne, Somerset, is set for Wednesday 14 January 2004. Included are 29 Antarctic lots, mostly books (Nos 250-278). Full descriptions at and htm

Some selected and edited highlights (actually most of the lots):

Lot 251. ANTARCTIC EPHEMERA. Printed invitations from Shackleton to view the "Endurance" at the South West India Dock on 8th July 1914, overprinted "Postponed to Thursday, July 16th". — Handbill advertising Shackleton's Moving Pictures show, n.d. — Printed booklet about the "Discovery", 1937 — Ten videos of various television programmes on antarctic expedition, etc. Estimate £30-50. Hammer price £170.

Lot 252. BERNACCHI, LOUIS. To the South Polar Regions Expedition of 1898-1900. 1901 (binding dulled). Photographic plates and two charts, one of them folding at end (lacks one chart). Presentation copy, inscribed by the author to "Mons. Charles P. Lalenpin . . . 1905". — ARMITAGE, ALBERT B. Two Years in the Antarctic. 1905 (rather worn). Illustrations and map. Inscribed on half title "To Sir Edward Letchworth from S. H. Latham Armitage M.P. — MURRAY, JAMES and GEORGE MARSTON. Antarctic Days, 1913 (covers soiled). — DOORLY, Capt. GERALD S. The Voyages of The 'Morning'. 1916. All 8vo., orig. cloth. Illustrated. With four others. (8). Estimate £100-120. Hammer price £1250.

Lot 254. BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION TERRA NOVA R.Y.S A.L.S. from Lt. Harry Powell (Master S.Y. Terra Nova) to The Gaumont Co. from Lyttelton, February 25th, n.y. He confirms the agreement that "no cinematograph pictures are allowed to be taken on board by representatives of other firms or private persons..." With T.L.S. on similar headed paper from Edward R.G.R. Evans, 36 Victoria Street London May 30 1913, thanking F. Gent for sending various journals & for the sympathetic message on "the loss of my wife", each on page 8vo. (2). Estimate £50-80. Hammer price £140.

Lot 255. BRUCE, WILLIAM S (Antarctic explorer and naturalist) Manuscript office copy (signed by Bruce) of a letter to Lt. R. J. Gould, R.N., from Oxton, Berwickshire, 25.8.17. Three pages, large 8vo., written on the reverse of "Tow-Netting Record" sheets of the S.Y. Scotia, Scottish National Antarctic Expedition. Bruce refers to Gould's investigations of the Aurora Islands and says he is in touch with Weddell's relatives concerning Weddell's earlier records which may shed some light on the matter. He speculates how Weddell and Ross regarded the Shag Rocks and the Aurora Islands, and whether they had been reported prior to Cook's Voyage in 1762. Estimate £80-120. Hammer price £100.

Lot 258. CHERRY-GARRARD, APSLEY. Three line Autograph note, signed, Oct 26 (1938) to L.E.S. Gutteridge, from Lamer Park, Wheathampstead, Herts. In full: "I'm not surprised. But thank you very much for getting it altered." L.E.S. Gutteridge had seen an incorrect attribution of an artifact at an Antartic display at the British Museum and had persuaded the officials into changing it to the correct collector, Apsley Cherry-Garrard. Estimate £50-80. Hammer price £90.

Lot 259. EVANS, Admiral Sir EDWARD R.G.R. South With Scott. Collins, n.d. Presentation copy from the author "To The Maharaj Kumari of Burdwan With Best Wishes from E.R.G.G.Evans. London Air Raid Blitzkreig 1940". — Turley, Charles. The Voyages of Captain Scott. 1914 — Bernacchi, L.C. Saga of the "Discovery". (1938). — SEAVER, GEORGE. 'Birdie' Bowers of the Antarctic. (1938). With 18 others, mostly concerning Scott's expeditions 8vo., orig. cloth. Illustrated. (22). Estimate £150-250. Hammer price £280.

Lot 263. MARKHAM, Sir CLEMENTS ROBERTS. A.L.S. to an unnamed correspondent 1-1/2pp. 8vo., from 21 Eccleston Square (London) 12 Nov. 1902, responding to an invitation to dinner by the Council of the Society of Yorkshiremen. The Writer was President of the Royal Geographical Society and much involved in the organisation of Antarctic expeditions. Estimate £20-30. Hammer price £35.

Lot 264. MAWSON, Sir DOUGLAS. The Home of the Blizzard. Being the Story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914. 2 vols., First Edition, 1915. 8vo., orig. pictorial cloth gilt (slight oxidising to upper cover ills., minimal bruising) Portrait and plates, some coloured, 3 folding maps in rear pocket of vol 2. (2). Estimate £200-400. Hammer price £500.

Lot 265. MILL, HUGH ROBERT. The Siege of the South Pole, the Story of Antarctic Explorations. First Edition, 1905. Maps, diagrams and other illustrations. Presentation copy from the author, inscribed "To the house of Salusbury as a memento shown to members of the British Association at Leicester in August 1907.." —BROWN, R.N. RUDMORE. A Naturalist at the Poles. The Life, Works & Voyages of Dr. W.S. Bruce. First Edition, 1923. d.w. Photographic plates and 3 maps, with 12 others 8vo., orig. cloth. (14). Estimate £120-180. Hammer price £420.

Lot 266. MURDOCH, W.G. BURN. From Edinburgh to The Antarctic. An Artist's Notes and Sketches during the Dundee Antarctic Expedition of 1892-93. First Edition, London and New York 1894. 8vo., orig. pictorial cloth. Folding map at end, coloured chart and text illustrations (some light spotting). Estimate £450-650. Hammer price £380.

Lot 270. SHACKLETON, Sir ERNEST. The Heart of the Antarctic. Being The Story of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909. Limited Edition, No. 131 of 300 copies. 2 vols., 1909. 4to., cont. vellum gilt, t.e.g., other edges uncut (Vol. 1 with short tear at head of spine, both vols. slightly soiled). Portraits, maps, including four folding in pocket at end of Vol. 2, plates, some coloured; THE ANTARCTIC BOOK WINTER QUARTERS 1907-1909. One of 300 copies, 1909. 4to., orig. vellum backed boards, t.e.g., other edges uncut. Four mounted coloured portraits and six etched plates. Signed by the members of the shore party, including Shackleton, Mawson etc. (3). See illustration. Estimate £6,000-8,000. Hammer price £6400.

Lot 271. SHACKLETON, Sir ERNEST. The Heart of The Antarctic . . . New and Revised Edition . . . Popular Edition, Heinemann, 1910. 8vo., orig. cloth gilt, t.e.g. Portrait frontis. signed by Shackleton and F. A. Worsley, colour plates and other illustrations, folding map at end (torn and repaired). Originally the property of F. Gent of Sydney, an Australian organiser to British Antarctic expeditions (see also lot 254), whose name appears on front flyleaf, dated 1912. With signatures on flyleaf and half title of Mawson, Simpson, Joyce, Davis, Ponting, Priestley, Wild and Edgeworth David (these two leaves loose). With photograph of Frank Hurley and another man [probably Ponting] holding a toy penguin pasted to verso of upper cover. Newspaper cuttings pasted in at end. See illustration. Estimate £2,000-3,000. Hammer price £1800.

Lot 273. SHACKLETON, Sir ERNEST. A.L.S. to "My dear Aunt Trottie". from 14 Milnthorpe Road. Monday, n.d. One page, 8vo. Regretting that they cannot come to lunch with her that day. With another half page of writing paper, 7 Heathview Gardens, Putney Heath, signed by Shackleton and inscribed "B.A.E. 1907-09". (2). Estimate £100-200. Hammer price £360.

Lot 274. SHACKLETON, Sir ERNEST. Mill, Hugh Robert. The Life of Sir Ernest Shackleton. 1923. Presentation copy inscribed, "To Mr. Edmund Gosse In Remembrance from Emily Shackleton". With an A.L.S. from Lady Shackleton to the same loosely inserted "I wonder if you have seen Dr Mill's "Life" of Ernest, if not, may i send you a copy..." One page, 8vo., 18th Dec. n.y. — Joyce, Ernest E. Mills. The South Polar Trail. 1929. With 5 others on the same. 8vo., orig. cloth, some in Illustrated. (7). Estimate £150-200. Hammer price £580.

Lot 275. THE SOUTH POLAR TIMES. April to August 1902 and April to August 1903. 2 vols., 1907. Edited by Shackleton. Limited Edition, No. 133 of 250 copies. 4to., orig. pictorial cloth gilt, a.e.g., Coloured plates and other illustrations (gutta-percha perished in vol 1, with some leaves loose, half title and frontis. in vol 1 slightly frayed at lower edge worn). (2). Covers very bright and clean. Estimate £1000-1500. Hammer price £4600.

Lot 276. SUMMER IN THE ANTARCTIC REGIONS; A Narrative of Voyages of Discovery Towards the South Pole. S.P.C.K., 1848. 16mo., orig. cloth gilt (slight wear to head and tail of spine). Folding map and illustrations. Estimate £40-60. Hammer price £80.

Lot 277. WEDDELL, JAMES. A Voyage Towards The South Pole, Performed in the Years 1822-24. Second Edition, With Observations on The Probability of Reaching the South Pole. 1827. 8vo., orig. sheep backed boards (joints cracked). Hand coloured frontispiece. 8 engraved maps. 6 of them folding, (one torn). 2 engraved figures and 6 aquatints, 2 of them folding (some staining and spotting, library stamp on title) Signature of Wm. S. Bruce, Edinburgh 1905 on front flyleaf (the explorer and naturalist). Estimate £600-800. Hammer price £1200.

Lot 278. WILD, Cdr. FRANK. Shackleton's Last Voyage. The Story of the Quest. From the Official Journal and Private Diary kept by Dr. A.H.Macklin First Edition, London and New York etc., 1923. 8vo., orig. cloth gilt. (extremities just spotted) Coloured frontispiece, maps and other illustrations. Estimate £100-200. Hammer price £270.

For more informations: Lawrences of Crewkerne Saleroom & Head Office, The Linen Yard, South Street, Crewkerne, Somerset, England, TA18 8AB. Telephone: +44 (0) 1460 73041. Facsimile: +44 (0) 1460 74627. Email:

—Thanks to Jonathan Shackleton.
(12 January 2004)

The estimates seems very low to me, some VERY low. It will be interesting to see what these lots actually fetch.
—R. Stephenson
(12 January 2004)

UPDATE: The total for the Antarctic lots (250-278) was £22,465. Most lots sold above estimate. The 3 volume edition deluxe of The Heart of the Antarctic fetched the highest, £6,400, followed by the first two volumes of the South Polar Times, £4,600.
—R. Stephenson
(15 January 2004)


Morton & Eden of London will auction on 3 October 2003 several polar medals including Tom Crean's Antarctic medal from Scott's Discovery expedition. Morton & Eden, 45 Maddox Street, London W1S 2PE. Tel: 020 7493 5344.E-mail: Web: (Apparently they do not include an on-line catalogue; printed catalogues are £10). The time of the auction is not given on their webpage.

Crean's medal is described as: "Polar Medal, Edward VII silver issue, 1 clasp, Antarctic 1902-04, A.B. T. Crean, "Discovery", good very fine. Estimate £12,000-15,000. Tom Crean's original single-clasp medal for Scott's First Expedition."

From various press releases:

Crean was later to be awarded the Albert Medal for his part in saving the life of "Teddy" Evans (subsequently Lord Mountevans) on the return march after leaving Scott, Wilson, Bowers, Oates and "Taff" Evans to make their ill-fated attempt on the South Pole; he also received a duplicate two-clasp Polar medal on the same occasion. His third and final clasp was earned during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-16 and the Elephant Island rescue, when he accompanied Shackleton on the epic voyage of the James Caird and the crossing of South Georgia.

The Polar Medal Roll records that this medal—Tom Crean's original silver award for the 1902-04 Discovery Expedition, with single clasp and engraved naming—was forwarded on 19th December 1905 to the Ganges, where Crean was briefly stationed. The Roll further states that a duplicate medal was supplied to Commander E.R.G.R. Evans on 20th July 1913 (Evans having taken charge of the 1910-13 Expedition following the death of Scott). This two-clasp replacement, with impressed naming 174699 T. CREAN A.B. DISCOVERY, was presented to Crean at Buckingham Palace on 26th July together with his Albert Medal (awarded to both Crean and Lashly for saving Evans's life). Crean was later to earn a third clasp to his Polar medal for Shackleton's Expedition of 1914-16, as well as his Great War service and Naval Long Service & Good Conduct medals. The complete group, which also contains his R.G.S. awards, is currently housed at the Kerry County Museum.

It is not known precisely why a replacement Polar medal was authorised. It is possible that the original was simply not to hand in 1913 (at home in Ireland, perhaps) for the addition of a second clasp, so Commander Evans simply decided to order a complete new medal. Alternatively Crean may, like his Discovery colleague and great friend Edgar "Taff" Evans, have sold his medal to raise funds during the difficult and uncertain years preceding the 1910 Terra Nova Expedition.

Other polar medals in the sale (lot numbers not given):

Polar Medal - singles:
1. Bronze, no clasp, J. Cooper, "Terra Nova", 1903-4
2. Silver, 1 clasp Antarctic 1902-04, A.B. T. Crean, "Discovery" [see above]
3. Bronze, no clasp, E. Murphy, Fireman, "Aurora", 1917
4. Silver, 1 clasp Antarctic 1957-58, Leonard Constantine, Esq.

Polar Medals - pairs and/or in groups:
1. Silver, 1 clasp Antarctic 1910-13, A.S. Bailey, P.O. 2CL., "Terra Nova", with R.G.S. bronze medal, 1913, named; in group with 1914-15 star, B.W.M., Victory medal (M.i.D.) and Naval L.S.G.C.
2. Pair: Bronze, 1 clasp Antarctic 1929-31 and silver, 1 clasp Antarctic 1935-37, to James H(amilton) Martin [K.I.A. 1940]
3. Pair in group: Bronze, 1 clasp Antarctic 1929-39 and silver, 1 clasp Antarctic 1944-45 to Alfred T(homas) Berry; with B.W.M., Mercantile Marine medal, stars for 1939-45, Atlantic, Africa (cl. North Africa 1942-43) and Pacific, and 1939-45 War Medal

U.S.A., Byrd Antarctic Expedition Medal, 1928-30
1. Gold, named to Carroll B. Foster Jr. (also in named case)

—Thanks to Michael Smith
(2 September 2003)


The catalogue for the next Christie's 'Exploration and Travel' sale arrived recently. It's a two-day sale (numbers 9694 and 6808): Wednesday 24 September 2003 at 1 pm and Thursday 25 September at 2:30 pm. Both are in London, the first at 85 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, the second at the 8 King Street rooms. For more information go to—the catalogue is or will be online—or contact Nicolas Worskett (books) or Nicolas Martineau (pictures) for the first day sale or Tom Lamb [] (books) or Nick Lambourn [] (pictures) for the second day sale.

First Day: Of the 378 lots, the last 55 are Antarctic related (Lots 323-378, no lot 355). [Actually Lot 314 is Antarctic as well, a M'Cormick Voyages presentation copy to H.M. Stanley.(£4700)]
Broken down by type: 17 book lots, 16 photographic, 6 artifacts, 5 art, 4 ephemera, 2 letters, 2 autographs, 1 scrapbook and 1 transcript.
There are 2 Wilson watercolors, numerous Ponting photographs, and quite a few Shackleton items. Some lots have appeared before in recent Christie's sales.
Probably the most interesting to me: Lot 331, Reginald Ford's collection of 130 glass lantern slides from the Discovery expedition (estimate £3,000-5,000). (Did Not Sell)

Second Day: Of the 85 lots, the first 23 are polar and of these, 20 are Antarctic related (no lot 415). The lots are of a higher quality than those on the first day; and again, there are items previously appearing at Christie's in recent sales. Broken down by type: 7 artifact lots, 6 photographic, 3 art and 4 book.
Notable are: Lot 403, A Wilson family photographic album, including ca. 435 photographs (estimate £800-1,200) (£1792); Lot 406, a large Wilson watercolor, 'The Emperor Penguin Rookery, Cape Crozier' (estimate £3,000-£5,000) (£9560); Lot 412, Aurora Australis, presentation copy to Janet Stancomb-Wills (estimate £25,000-35,000) (Did Not Sell); Lot 413, 3-vol edition de luxe of The Heart of the Antarctic (estimate £8,000-12,000) (£9560); Lot 416, a Ponting album containing 449 contact prints (estimate £60,000-80,000 (£65,725); Lot 421, 3-vol set of the South Polar Times with prospectus (estimate £7,000-10,000) (£9560); and Lot 423, Charles Swithinbank's copy of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition prospectus, second state (estimate £2,000-3,000) (£2868).
—R. Stephenson
(2 September 2003)

UPDATE: Prices including the premium are included above for selected lots. On the first day, 16 lots didn't sell, 27%. On the second day, just one Antarctic lot went unsold. Considerably better than the Silverman sale a year ago when only 54% of the lots sold.
—R. Stephenson
(26 September 2003)


Cromwell's Auction House, Monday 16 June 2003 at 5:30 pm. 209 Harris Street, Pyrmont, NSW, Australia. (On view: Friday 13 May, 10 am-4 pm; Saturday & Sunday 10 am-4 pm; Monday 9 am-2 pm.)
For further information:

28 lots of polar books, some with multiple copies. Most are pretty common. The one of most interest is lot 277.

JOHN HENRY COLLISON CLOSE (1878-1949). 'Assistant Collector' on Mawson's Expedition to the Antarctic in 1911-13. John Close was a member of the Main Base Party (Adelie Land) and of several sledging parties, he spent two summers and one winter in the Antarctic. At forty years of age he was one of the oldest members of the group. The following items were with him in the Antarctic: TELESCOPE, brass and leather three draw telescope with brass cap and housed in red lacquered case; POCKET COMPASS in wooden case with brass hinges and fittings, name of 'Close' stamped on lid; BRYANT AND MAY 'Wax Vestas' match box, brass plated with engraving of horse race on inside lid and mirror on the outside (6x4cm). Used by Close to store his morse code.; HAND SEWN CANVAS BAG/POUCH containing 2 rock chip samples of unknown Antarctic minerals. Label by Close, hand written in Indian ink to his wife 'Mrs J.H.Close..... Burwood, Sydney NSW'. Sent from Antarctica by supply ship c.1912; Copy of LIFE MAGAZINE, dated September 1, 1914, contains written account by Mawson of his expedition in which Close is mentioned several times, Close was responsible for saving the lives of Stillwell and Laseron during a unusually heavy fall of snow; COLLECTION OF LETTERS from John Close to his wife Alice, dated 1911 & 1912 (approx.17), TLs from Mawson to Close dated 1930, Various newspaper clippings and documents, including character reference for John Close by A.B. Phipps Lieutenant South African Police etc. These items are now being offered for sale having been passed down in the family to the great nieces of John Closes' wife Alice. Estimate: A$10000 - A$12000
Bonhams, Tuesday 24 June 2003 at 2 pm. 101 New Bond Street, London. Sale 10399, Printed Books, Maps & Manuscripts. (On view: Friday 20 June 9-4:30 pm; Sunday 22 June 11-3 pm; Monday 23 June 9-4 pm)
For further information: Catalogue&iSaleNo=10399#

6 lots of Antarctic interest including the medals of Thomas Kennar and a Discovery clock. Results in bold exclusive of Buyer's Premium and sales tax.

64. NATIONAL ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1901-04 Ship's clock from Discovery, cream dial with single winding hole, Roman numerals signed ""The Discovery" leads to Discovery 1901 to 1904". Estimate: £4,000 to 5,000. £6,200
65. SHACKLETON (Sir ERNEST HENRY) Autograph letter signed, to Kennar's mother, following Shackleton's return after being invalided from Scott's first expedition, and while he was working on the logistics of organising a relief ship. Estimate: £500 to 700. £1,200
66. SHACKLETON (Sir ERNEST HENRY) Typed letter signed, to Thomas Kennar, thanking him for his good wishes for Shackleton's British Antarctic Expedition. Estimate: £300 to 400. £950
67. PONTING (HERBERT GEORGE) The Terra Nova at the Ice-foot, Cape Evans, a very large well-toned green carbon print. £3,000 to 4,000. Did not sell.
68. PONTING (HERBERT) Series of sixteen fine original photographs. Estimate: £1,500 to 2,000. £3,600
(31 May 2003)


The next sale with any polar lots is a Travel and Natural History Sale (No 9621) set for Thursday 8 May 2003 at South Kensington (85 Old Brompton Road, London). The sale begins at 10:30.
Web: 18277

There are only 4 Antarctic lots: Burn Murdoch's From Edinburgh to the Antarctic, 1894; a Ponting photograph of Wilson sketching; Volume III only of The South Polar Times, 1914; and Frank Stokes' Blue Berg painting (which was also in Polar Sale, September 25, 2001, and failed to sell). Not very exciting, but apparently there will be far more of interest in 25 September 2003 sale (Exploration and Travel, King Street).
—R. Stephenson
(18 April 2003)


The next Polar Sale (No 6624) is set for 25 September 2002 at King Street, London. Sale sessions at 10:30 and 2:30.
Web: month=9&year=2002&location=36
(9 May 2002)

UPDATE: Rumors have recently been circulating about Christie's September sale: Yes, Neil Silverman's collection is headed to the saleroom! Here's some of what Tom Lamb of Christie's had to say about it in a recent e-mail:

"The formal title of the sale is 'The Polar Sale including the Neil M Silverman Collection'. All the books objects and photographs will take up the morning session of the sale on the 25th September. The afternoon session (all one catalogue) will include mixed owner properties including many artefacts from the Shackleton expeditions....
Other sales taking place around this will be an Exploration and Travel sale [on] September 26th, and on the 24th 'The Africa sale including the Henry Morton Stanley Collection' which is a fantastic group of his mementoes of his African travels (books, photographs, objects, etc.), but all from rather hotter climes than the Polar regions...."
That Neil Silverman is selling a good bit of his collection is unexpected news. In recent years, Neil has been a (perhaps 'the') leading Antarcticana collector, a presence—and spirited, usually successful, bidder—at many sales in the US and the UK, and a generous supporter of many Antarctic causes around the world. One can only wonder what this means: From a saleroom perspective, will we see Antarctic material continue it's meteoric price rise; a leveling off; a decline? The world will be watching!

Here's what another collector e-mailed recently:

" is confirmed that roughly 80% of his holdings will be auctioned at the I'm sure there will be plenty of bidders, however, who will pay just about anything for what they want."
—R. Stephenson
(9 July 2002)

UPDATE: No sign of the catalogue yet, although the catalogue for the Freycinet Collection, to be sold the next day, arrived the other day.

—R. Stephenson
(25 August 2002)

UPDATE: "I gather from the Christie's press office that the catalogue is in the post.It will no doubt arrive tomorrow. Meanwhile they have sent a press release...looks like there is a huge amount of stuff being auctioned including Queen Alexandra's standard given to Shackleton on the Endurance expedition, one of Scott's sledging flags from the Terra Nova which Silverman bought at the Scott Relics sale and loads of other things (Brocklehurst's unpublished diary, Scott's manuscript instructions to Meares before the sledging journey, Levick's autograph journal from the first season recording meeting Amundsen to name but a few!."

"Just got the catalogue (a whopping 335 pages of it)... wow... there is a lot of stuff.. I love the Cherry painting and the Stokes one but haven't had time to look at it all in detail."

—From recent e-mails from Wendy Driver, London.
(29 and 30 August 2002)

POST SALE REPORT: This sale was different in mood and results from previous polar sales. First, there were fewer people in the room, particularly in the morning (a tube strike may have been a factor). Second, more than half the lots didn't sell, i.e. didn't reach their reserves. Third, the estimates seemed to be higher than reasonable. The Christie's people didn't seem very pleased.

The Scott Polar Research Institute managed to get four lots: No 128 (autograph diary of Alf Cheetham, 3rd officer on Shackleton's Nimrod [£9500 hammer price versus estimate of £10,000 - 15,000]); No 174 (autograph letter of instruction from Robert Scott to Cecil Meares, 30 September 1911 [£19,000 hammer price versus £20,000 - 30,000 estimate]); No 244 (autograph manuscript of Leonard Hussey signed 'Shackleton-Rowett Expedition / The Voyage of the Quest' [£11,000 hammer price versus £8,000 - 10,000 estimate]); and No 316 (autograph diary of S. B. Riches, Nimrod expedition [£14,000 hammer price versus £7,000 - 10,000]). Frank Debenham's autograph journal 'Diary of Western Journey... 1911' was purchased by the Debenham family and one or more Antarctic organizations. The highest price paid was for the silk Royal Standard presented to Shackleton by Queen Alexandra, £100,000 hammer price against an estimate of £100,000 - 150,000. Unclear to me who the buyer was but quite possibly the National Maritime Museum.

The sale totalled £788,515 on 213 lots sold out of a total of 397 (i.e. 46% remained unsold). (The previous polar sale [Zust sale 9 May 2002] brought in £777,586 on 203 lots sold.) For a complete listing of prices realized, go to: CKS6624

Comment from Christie's (Nicholas Lambourn, Specialist in charge of the sale): "Shackleton led the way today with the Royal Standard, presented to the explorer by Queen Alexandra, which sold for £116,650. Rare Antarctic books in good condition sold well but the market did not respond as strongly, as in the past, for Polar art and artefacts."

Here are some comments received by e-mail from those in the room: "I missed the morning session but caught up with the prices during the afternoon. Obviously it was a shame that so few people were bidding, but it cannot be unexpected that prices would dive with so much familiar material returning to the auction room so quickly. It echoed the pattern of every other area of collecting where recently sold material often fails to find a buyer the second time around..."

And another: "My take on the auction(s) is something like this.... Quality books got great prices and seem not to have been much affected by tenuous financial markets. Average quality non-rare or non-distinguished books got average prices when they sold. And there's much we can't assess because the high reserves of many lots were so high."

Among those seen at the sale: Booksellers: John Bonham, Ben Burdett, Hugh Betts, Stuart Leggatt, Julien Renard and John Simper. Collectors: Joe Bugayer, Trevor Cornford, Marty Greene, Richard Kossow, Lewis McNaught, Joe O'Farrell, Michael Rosove and Wendy Driver. Also, Zaz Shackleton, Jonathan Shackleton, Jo-Del Gaeth, Dinah Molloy, Sandy Macklin and Bob Headland. And, of course, the major consignors: Neil and Joyce Silverman. For a photo of the between-session luncheon hosted by the Silvermans, CLICK HERE.

On the following day—26 September—the Exploration and Travel Sale (including The Bligh Relics) was held. Included, several lots of interest to the Antarctic collector: Lot 49 Forster's 'Voyage round the world', 1777 [price including premium £3,585, against estimate of £3,000 - 5,000]; Lot 50 Marra's 'Journal of the Resolution's voyage', 1775 [price including premium £7,767, against estimate of £4,000 - 6,000]; Lot 85 Dumont D'Urville's magnificent 'Voyage au Pole Sud...' 1841-54, 29 volumes [estimate £40,000 - 60,000; did not sell].
—R. Stephenson
(4 October 2002)

NOTE: In the recent issue of Polar Bytes (No 24, October 2002), the newsletter of the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute, Librarian and Keeper of the Collections, William Mills, comments on the four lots obtained by SPRI (with the help of grants from the Friends and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust):

Lot 128: Alfred Cheetham; ms. journal from Shackleton's Nimrod expedition. Cheetham was third officer and boatswain of Nimrod. He had previously served as Morning's boatswain, 1902-04, and, was afterwards to return to Antarctica as boatswain in Terra Nova, 1910-13, and third officer in Endurance, 1914-16. As his record suggests, Cheetham was a significant figure in his own right and the Institute has otherwise only two of his letters. This journal complements our extensive collection for Shackleton's first expedition. As a member of the Ship rather than the Shore party, it presents a seaman's perspective of the expedition, and will be most informative for Nimrod's voyages. The journal consists of about 95 pages and covers the period 1 January to 8 March 1908 and 1 December to 17 January 1909.

Lot 174: Robert Scott; ms. instructions to Cecil Meares. It is particularly pleasing to report the acquisition of this 3-page letter. Much has been written, not all of it well-informed, concerning Scott's use of dogs on his second expedition. This letter contains detailed instructions as to how he wished the dogs to be employed. It is a particularly good example of his planning for the South Pole journey.

Lot 244: Leonard Hussey; ms. of proposed book about Shackleton's Quest expedition. When Shackleton died, Hussey was delegated responsibility for making arrangements for the return of his body to England, and then burial at South Georgia, when this was requested by Lady Shackleton. Hussey wrote six chapters for inclusion in Frank Wild's official account of the expedition, but they remained unpublished presumably for lack of space. This text complements two major acquisitions to the Institute's Archives last year: the Quest's official archive, including Shackleton's death certificate and Dr Macklin's's account of his death; and the Shackleton Family Archive.

Lot 316: Sidney Riches; ms. fair copy of journal from Shackleton's Nimrod expedition. Riches served in Nimrod as an able seaman, this being the only Antarctic expedition in which he participated. At 309 numbered pages,this is longer than most accounts, covering the period 1 January to 8 March 1908 and 1 December 1908 to 30 August 1909. This is a very useful addition to our collections for Shackleton's first expedition, and is quite probably uniquely informative in its extended coverage of Nimrod's voyage home, when she searched for several islands now known not to exist.


There are a few Antarctic lots in the Travel and Natural History Sale set for 10:30 on Thursday, 30 May 2002, at 85 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington. Lots 1-4 and 6 relate to Cook and his Second Voyage. Lots 18 and 19 relate to Dumont D'Urville (including 2 volumes of Atlas Pittoresque, incomplete, with an estimate of £8,000 to £12,000).

The next Polar Sale is set for 25 September 2002 at King Street.
(9 May 2002)


According to Tom Lamb of Christie's, "...we have a polar collection selling May 9th [2002] with a substantial library of polar books both north and south, in total approximately 2,500 books and also a fine selection of Polar art and photography, Ponting, Hurley, etc. We will also have a polar section as part of our main Exploration and Travel sale on September 26th, with memorabilia and ephemera, books and pictures [both at King Street and South Kensington]."
(13 December 2001)

UPDATE: A recent mailing describes the 9 May sale as "The Polar Collection of Andreas Züst." This mailing also notes a Polar Sale scheduled for the Wednesday 25 September, the day before the Exploration and Travel sale.

UPDATE: "Just got the press release . . . basically I think it will be mostly books covering both Arctic and Antarctic including Shackleton's Aurora Australis (estimate up to £35,000) and loads of Ponting photos including 12 large gelatin silver prints issued in 1913 (£40,000). Also paintings, and artefacts although no details."
—From an e-mail from Wendy Driver.
(27 March 2002)

UPDATE: The catalogue arrived the other day. The sale begins at 2:00 pm May 9th with viewing 2 and 3 May and 7, 8 and 9 May. There are 237 lots, some of which are multiple items. The order of sale is as follows: The Arctic: Early Voyages (lots 1-26), The Search for the Northwest Passage (27-48), The Franklin Search Expeditions, 1850-1860 (49-67), Arctic Expeditions after 1860 (68-92), and Arctic Literature (93-137). Antarctica: Early Voyages (138-158), The Heroic Age (159-237).

Here are some of the Antarctic highlights, with estimates and prices realized (including 17.5% buyer's premium) in pounds:

149. James Weddell. Voyage towards the South Pole..., 1825. First edition. [£1000-1500].£1792
154. Charles Wilkes. Narrative of the US Exploring Expedition..., 1845. Third issue. 6 volumes. [£1000-1500]. £1195
160. Concerning the German South Polar expedition (Drygalski). A group of manuscripts, drawings, letters, etc. [£3000-5000]. £6572
161. Erich von Drygalski. Deutsche Südpolar-Expedition, 1905-31, 20 volumes. "An extremely rare complete series of official reports" from the expedition. [£10,000-15,000]. Did not sell.
166. George Murray. The Antarctic Manual, 1901. [£1000-1500]. £2868
169 and 170. G.S. Doorly. The Voyages of the 'Morning'. [£1500-2000 (with The Songs of the Morning, as well) and £700-1000]. 169 did not sell; 170: £836
172 and 173. Two signed watercolors by Edward A. Wilson. [both £4000-6000] Did not sell.
174. "A very fine set" of the South Polar Times, 1907-14, 3 volumes. [£10,000-15,000]. £20,315
175. George Mulock. Charts of the Discovery Expedition, 1908. Scott's copy. [£2000-3000]. £4182
181. Ernest Mills Joyce. Album of 90 photographs from Nimrod expedition. [£2000-3000]. £3107
182. Sir Ernest Shackleton, editor. Aurora Australis, 1908. Signed by Shackleton and Marston. [£28,000-35,000]. £47,800
184. Sir Ernest Shackleton. Heart of the Antarctic, 1909. Edition de luxe, 3 volumes. Presentation copy. [£5000-8000]. £16,730
189 and 190. James Murray and George Marston. Antarctic Days; Sketches of the Homely Side of Polar Life, 1913. Edition de luxe, signed by authors and Shackleton. [both £1200-1800]. £1912 and £2629
191-211. All Ponting photographs, including some albums, estimates ranging from £400 to 40,000]. Highest, Lot 208: £9560
216. Apsley Cherry-Garrard. Worst Journey in the World, 1922, First Edition. Along with the Postscript, 1951. Volume II has the very rare dustjacket. [£1000-1500]. £3107
218. William Lashly. Diary, 1938-39. [£500-800]. £4780
221. [Douglas Mawson]. Midwinter Dinner. Menu. (Mawson's copy.) Featuring a Hurley photograph. [£3000-5000]. Did not sell.
223-226. All Hurley photographs, estimates ranging from £1000 to 40,000]. Highest, Lot 225: £8365
From reading the descriptions two things seem clear: Quite a few of the lots were purchased at auction in very recent years, many at Christie's. And, the condition is often poor or at least questionable from a collector's perspective.

The catalogue contains a two-page essay by Martin Jaeggi on Andreas Züst (1947-2000), the Swiss meteorologist who developed this collection and who seems to have been an extraordinarily interesting person.

TWO EVENTS associated with the sale are described in the catalogue: Joanna Wright, Curator of Photography at the Royal Geographical Society, will speak on Pioneer Photographers in the Polar Regions on Tuesday, May 7th at 6:30 pm at Christie's, 8 King Street, St. James's, London. On Thursday, May 2nd Don McCullin will lecture on Journeys Through the Lens at the Royal Geographical Society at 7:00 pm (bar opens at 6:00 pm). Sponsored by Christie's and in aid of The Christina Noble Children's Foundation. Tickets at £15 are available from the CNCF with s.a.e., 11-15 Lillie Road, London SW6 1TX. Tel: 020 7386 9376.
—R. Stephenson
(16 April 2002)

UPDATE: Some early reports. Several leading collectors were present as well as such dealers as Renard, High Latitude, Barbara Grigor-Taylor, Sotherans and presumably many more. A London dealer just e-mailed to say: "It was an odd sale. Good items were making more than enough—£40,000 for the Aurora (+ nearly £8000 premium!), £14,000 for the limited edition Heart of the Antarctic, but the Drygalski reports didn't sell... Some of the lots are not selling—the Doorly's did badly, but then they were nasty copies."

Another opinion from a friend in the room: "...most things hardly reached it [the low estimate] or didn't sell.... It was a very quiet sale with no excitement at all. I wonder if everyone is waiting until September. Two of the Wilson paintings didn't sell and the Ponting photos were only going for £2,000-3000! Amazing when you think the Ice Cave sold for £22,000 three years ago!"

The prices realized are now up on the Christie's website:

Among the Antarctic lots, 18 did not sell. The average for 104 lots was £7477. The highest in the sale was the Aurora Australis (lot 182) at £47,800; the lowest at £478 was lot 210, 'Exhibition of the Photographic Pictures of Herbert G. Ponting.' (All the above include the 17.5% buyer's premium.) Note: Prices including premiums have been inserted above.]

I bid on one item and was successful and quite surprised to get it despite it being five times the high estimate, by far the highest multiple in the sale. Either I'm stupid or highly discerning!
—R. Stephenson
(9 May 2002)


A recent mailing (March 2001) from Christie's, the auction house, announced two upcoming sales of interest to polar collectors: The first is set for the 25 September 2001 ("our first [book] sale devoted to Polar Exploration") and the second for the day following, 26 September, 'Exploration and Travel,' the next in its popular series inaugurated in 1996, "...combining pictures, books, manuscripts and artifacts..." Both are in London at the King Street rooms. For more information go to or contact Tom Lamb [], Head of the London Book Department for the former, or Nick Lambourn [] for the latter.

NOTE: The sale on the 26th and the 28th of September contains no polar material.

An e-mail from Tom Lamb tells more: "This year we are putting together a series of travel sales in the last week of September. On September 25th a Polar sale, September 26th Exploration and Travel and on September 28th a Travel sale at our South Kensington rooms. [Those who subscribe to catalogues in the Exploration and Travel series will receive catalogues] for these three. ... The April sale this year was postponed until September, but we are planning to have sales both in April and September next year. Depending on the success of the Polar sale we may well concentrate this material into a single specialist sale once a year."

NOTE: Wendy Driver reports from London [15 August] that the catalogue for the book sale is "HUGE!".

UPDATE: My catalogue arrived on the 22nd and Wendy's is huge. 355 pages, 250 lots. Lots 1-28 are "Arctic;" Lots 29-128 (Part I) are referred to as 'The Shackleton Collection'—with a 3pp informative essay by Bob Headland entitled "Shackletoniana," and Lots 129 through 250 (Part II) as 'The Heroic Age.' The sale starts at 2 pm, so assuming a lot a minute, it will be past 6 pm when things wind down. I commented after the last sale (see below; Travel and Exploration Sale, 21 September 2000) that the attics must be bare at this point, but I was wrong. The Shackleton family has opened its attic doors; so too the Macklins.

Overview: Shackleton and Macklin family photographs, letters, documents, memorabilia and such, abound in this sale. Also, lots of Marston and Wilson art, Hurley and Ponting photographs and albums (photographic and otherwise). The sale includes an inordinate number of menus (Savage Club, Authors Club, Wellington Club, Union Club, Explorers Club, Transportation Club, etc. There's one lot—51—that includes over 20!) Antarctic explorers, when not south, ate out every night and well. Look at Lot 66: Shackleton's engagements for a month in 1909—every night a dinner, not to mention lunch, too. Even when south, they didn't do too badly: Lot 43 is a menu for a sumptuous repast on the 'Morning.' No sledge rations these! Could this have been designed to soften the blow for the homeward-bound Shackleton?

Some highlights that caught my eye (with winning bids including buyer's premium in bold:

Lot 46. South Polar Times, vols I and II. Inscribed by Shackleton (the editor of vol I) to Emily, his wife (estimate: £6,000-8,000). £21,150.
Lot 53: Aurora Australis. Lady Shackleton's copy (estimate: £25,000-35,000). £35,250.
Lot 55: Another copy, the 'Kidney Soup' copy, presented by Shackleton to his daughter (estimate: £20,000-30,000). £30,550.
Lot 58: Shackleton's sledge harness used in reaching 'Farthest South' (estimate: £6,000-8,000). £11,162.50.
Lot 60: Two pieces from Shackleton's 'Farthest South' sledge (estimate: £1,000-2,000). £940
Lot 73: Shackleton's copy of the Limited Edition of the 'The Heart of the Antarctic' with the Antarctic Book (estimate: £5,000-8,000). £12,925.
Lot 99: An ivory and elephant seal (?) tooth letter opener with silver mount, engraved: 'SHACKLETON ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1914-16' (estimate: £1,500-2,500). £5,640.
Lot 136: R.F. Scott's autograph log as midshipman on HMS Euphrates, Boadicea, Royal Adelaide, Liberty, Monarch and Rover, 1883-1887, ca. 482 pp (estimate: £30,000-40,000). Reached £23,000 but did not sell.
Lot 142: National Antarctic Expedition Scrapbook compiled by Sir Clements Markham, 1901-04 (estimate: £10,000-15,000). £9,400.
Lot 151: National Antarctic Expedition, scientific results in 12 volumes (estimate: £4,000-6,000). £9,400.
Lot 173: Atkinson's sister's album of 449 photographs of the Terra Nova expedition by Herbert Ponting (estimate: £80,000-120,000). HIGHEST ESTIMATE OF THE SALE. Reached £65,000 but did not sell.
Lot 174: Wilson watercolour of Mount Erebus (estimate: £6,000-8,000). Reached £5,500 but did not sell.
Lot 178: Collection of letters, manuscripts, photographs, etc., collected by Caroline Oates related to her son, Captain Oates, contained in a tin deed box with the initials 'L.E.G.O.' (estimate: £20,000-30,000). £21,150.
Lot 185: Set of 57 glass lantern slides illustrating Amundsen's expedition to the South Pole (estimate: £10,000-15,000). £12,925.
Lot 195: Dr Macklin's autograph manuscript journal kept during the Endurance expedition (estimate: £50,000-60,000). THIRD HIGHEST ESTIMATE OF THE SALE. £104,950 Highest price realized. Went to Scott Polar Research Institute..
Lot 211: Frank Worsley's typescript of his Endurance expedition journal (estimate: £6,000-8,000). Reached £4,000 but did not sell.
Lot 232: Macklin's archive of the Quest Expedition (estimate: £60,000-80,000). SECOND HIGHEST ESTIMATE OF THE SALE. £100,550. Went to Scott Polar Research Institute.
At the foot of page 331: "Entries are invited for Christie's next polar sale to be held on May 2002." This sale then appears to be the start of a new series. It's unclear what will become of the 'Exploration and Travel' series as far as polar content is concerned. [The next sale in this series is on the following day, the 26th of September, continuing to Friday the 28th. It contains no polar material.]

A word to the wise: The catalogue for the present sale—which includes numerous photographs not previously published—will no doubt go out of print quickly judging from what happened with some of the past 'Exploration and Travel' sales.
—R. Stephenson

Both Tom Lamb and Nick Lambourn said at the sale that there will be another Polar sale within the next year, tentatively set for 10 May 2002. NOTE: This has changed (as of 11 December 2001): According to Tom Lamb, "...we have a polar collection selling May 9th [2002] with a substantial library of polar books both north and south, in total approximately 2,500 books and also a fine selection of Polar art and photography, Ponting, Hurley, etc. We will also have a polar section as part of our main Exploration and Travel sale on September 26th, with memorabilia and ephemera, books and pictures."
—R. Stephenson

RESULTS: This sale was well-attended with occasional spirited bidding...and long: starting at 2pm, ending at 5:20pm. Many items, however, either didn't sell or did so below estimate. Of course, those I was interested in all went far above their estimates so I came away empty handed (two that would have been nice to have were lot 54, the midwinter celebration program, with an estimate of £1000-1500, which went for £9,987.50; and lot 186A, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Prospectus, also with an estimate of £1000-1500, which went for £7,637.50). But friends did better. The total sold amounted to 197 lots out of 252 (78%) bringing £1,036,061 (a single lot—a necklace—brought substantially more two days later in the same room!). Scott Polar Research Institute ended up with the Macklin journal (lot 195) and the Quest Archive (lot 232) and is due to get a couple of other lots through gift. The Mitchell Library got a second Quest archive; Dulwich College, a collection of James Caird photographs (lot 96); and the Athy Heritage Center, Ireland, a Shackleton wooden birdcage (lot 42).
Among those seen at the sale or at the pub across the road before or after: Hugh Bett, Ben Burdett, Cathy Cooper, Wendy Driver, Bob Headland, Sue Kiner, Richard Kossow, Stuart Leggatt, Sandy Macklin, Jonathan Mandelbaum, Jim McCarthy, Rhod McEwan, William Mills, John Maggs, Margot Morrell, Jan Piggott, Roger Putt, Keith Richards, Alexandra Shackleton, Jonathan Shackleton, John Simper, Judy Skelton, Kelly Tyler and David Wilson.
—R. Stephenson

After the


Christie's next Travel & Exploration sale (No 6409) is scheduled for the 21st of September 2000 at 10:30 am at King Street, London. Many lots in recent sales in this series have been Antarctic in nature (some generating a lot of attention and much controversy): Shackleton and Scott items, Marston paintings, Ponting and Hurley photographs, artifacts galore, manuscript material and books. The catalogue is now out.

As a whole the lots offered are a little disappointing compared to the last two sales. Perhaps the attics are emptying out.

Some highlights among the 55 lots (97 in the last sale): A watercolor of Cook's Resolution and Adventure by Henry Roberts; 29 drawings and blueprints of Scott's Discovery; a Wilson watercolor; letter from Scott from Cape Evans giving his "last instructions to his expedition secretary before setting out for the South Pole..." (est $27,000-37,000); a Ponting album (est $75,000-120,000); a collection of manuscript journals of Harry Dickason, seaman on the Terra Nova; an "extraordinary" letter from Lt Evans reporting the loss of Scott and the Polar Party; a shotgun, carbine and revolver among the arms on the Endurance, the first having accompanied Shackleton on the James Caird boat journey; and quite a few Hurley and Ponting photographs.

—R. Stephenson.

UPDATE: The three lots fetching the highest bids including buyer's premium: Lot 72: 29 plans, blueprints, etc., related to Scott's ship Discovery (£163,250 against the estimate of £20,000-30,000); Lot 101: an album of 442 photographic prints many by Ponting (£146,750 against the estimate of £50,000-80,000); Lot 117: 3 firearms with Shackleton/Endurance connections (£86,250 against the estimate of £20,000-30,000). Lt Evans' letter (Lot 109) critical of Scott went for £18,800 (estimate £1500-2000). What might be thought of as a bargain was Lot 120, an autographed mammals tooth from The Quest expedition. Among the 17 signers is Shackleton; presumably this being among his last autographs. It went for £587 (estimate £500-800).


Christie's next Travel & Exploration sale (No 6284) is scheduled for the 18th of April 2000 at 10:30 am at King Street, London (the fall sale is set for the 20th of September). Many lots in recent sales in this series have been Antarctic in nature (some generating a lot of attention and much controversy): Shackleton and Scott items, Marston paintings, Ponting and Hurley photographs, artifacts galore, manuscript material and books. The catalogue should be out soon; it will be interesting to see if there's anything left out there to be auctioned!

UPDATE: Today (21 March) the catalogue arrived, fatter than ever. Some more Stokes paintings; what looks to be a superb painting of 'Discovery' in Winter Quarters by Harold Whitehead; numerous items coming from Thomas Whitfield (Discovery Expedition) including medals, cutlery, photos, dog collar; an album of photos related to the 'Morning'; a Savage Club menu; a chip from Shackleton's "furthest south" sledge; a Nimrod sledging biscuit; a presentation copy of the 'Aurora Australis'; a Marston watercolor; a fine first edition of Amundsen's 'Sydpolen'; a fragment of Scott's naval overcoat; expedition crockery; skis from the Terra Nova expedition; Lashly's snow goggles; a decorated coal box made by Lashly; Fry's cocoa tins from Cape Evans; Cherry-Garrard's sledging helmet, harness, hat, socks & mittens; a pencil used by Bowers; Cherry-Garrard's copy of Scott's Last Expedition; MS journal of George Abbott (BAE 1910-13) and his balaclava; Murray Levick's journal (1910-13) and other MS items (the two most important lots in the sale, I would think); a number of Ponting photographs and memorabilia; the White Ensign from Shackleton's 'Quest'; a Shackleton sextant; a bottle of port associated with Byrd; and a few other odds 'n ends. Will the flow of stuff ever end?! —R. Stephenson.