Scott and Shackleton's Antarctic expedition books to auction



2015-09-02 09:56:48

Sotheby's has announced the sale of the world's finest collection of books relating to Scott and Shackleton's Antarctic expedition.

100 years on from the legendary Endurance expedition, the auction house will offer a collection of rare, historic and in some cases unique volumes which tell the story of the adventure through the words of those who lived it.

The most notable book on offer is Ernest Shackleton’s Aurora Australis, the first book ever printed in Antarctica. Dated 1909, Shackleton's work featuring fact, fiction, humour, prose and poetry was produced on a simple printing press in the winter quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition at Cape Royds.

Despite frozen ink and a lack of supplies, Shackleton printed 100 copies of the book, of which 70 are known to have survived. They are bound in their original venesta boards, taken from the expedition's packing crates containing supplies such as tea and marmalade, with spines fashioned from leather horse harnesses.

Described as "one of the most celebrated travel books ever written", the historic copy of Aurora Australis is estimated at

Further highlights from the collection will include Shackleton's The Heart of the Antarctic, one of just 300 copies produced and signed by the fifteen men of the expedition's shore party, estimated at £10,000-£15,000; and a facsimile of the typescripts for 'The South Polar Times', the newspaper produced by Captain Scott’s men during his three expeditions to Antarctica, valued at £20,000-£30,000.

The collection of books will be sold as part of the Sothebys auction 'Exploration and Discovery, 1576-1939: The Library of Franklin Brooke-Hitching, Part 4, Q-Z', which takes place in London on September 30.

Share on social media
Write a response...

The bookmarklet lets you save things you find to your collections.

Note: Make sure your bookmarks are visible.


Click and drag the Collect It button to your browser's Bookmark Bar.

collect it