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  • Shackleton's Aurora Australis book estimated at $67,000 with Sotheby's
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • AuroraAustralisbookShackleton's

Shackleton's Aurora Australis book estimated at $67,000 with Sotheby's

A rare copy of Ernest Shackleton's Aurora Australis, the first book to be printed in Antarctica, is to feature in the September 30 Exploration and Discovery sale at Sotheby's in London, reports the Guardian newspaper.

The lot is valued at £30,000-40,000 ($50,400-67,200).

Shackleton Nimrod
Shackleton and his crew printed Aurora Australis on the 1907-1909 Nimrod expedition

Shackleton and his men printed around 100 copies of the book during the winter of 1908, while they waited to tackle the journey to the interior of the continent.

The work is bound in wooden boards cut from packing crates and consists of poems, short stories and articles alongside illustrations.

Shackleton encouraged the project to ensure "the spectre known as 'polar ennui' never made its appearance".

On the expedition's return to Britain, the books were distributed to financiers and friends. Very few ever come up for auction.

One particularly good copy sold for £43,200 ($72,578) at Bonhams London in 2007.

The Nimrod expedition of 1907-1909 intended to reach the South Pole, an objective that they failed by a distance of 100 miles - although it remained the furthest excursion into Antarctica until the Amundsen expedition reached the centre two years later.

A copy of An Account of the British Antarctic Expedition (1907-1909), signed by Shackleton and the rest of the Cape Royds landing party, is valued at £10,000-15,000.

We have this intimate signed letter from Shackleton to his wife, written from aboard the Mauritania in 1921. He would die of a heart attack nine months later on his arrival in Rio de Janeiro.

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • AuroraAustralisbookShackleton's