Captain Scott Antarctic letter sells for $261,050 at Bonhams auction
Scott's harrowing Antarctic letter was joined at the auction by rare photographs from the expedition
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Friday 30 March 2012
A letter written by Captain Scott just days before he succumbed to the ravages of the Antarctic has sold for £163,250 at Bonhams in London, on the 100th anniversary of his death - beating its estimate by 8.8%.
The letter, written on March 16, 1912 by the British explorer to a financier of the trip, Sir Edgar Speyer, offers a haunting glimpse into the last days of the expedition.
"I fear we must go...but we have been to the Pole and we shall die like gentlemen - I regret only for the women we leave behind," it reads.
"If this diary is found it will show how we stuck by our dying companions and fought this thing out to the end.
"We very nearly came through and it's a pity to have missed it but lately I have felt that we have overshot our mark - no-one is to blame".
The five-man party failed to return to safety after reaching the pole, as frostbite, hunger and exhaustion overtook them. They died just 11 miles from a supply depot.
The signed letter, the first of several written by Scott as he neared his fate, was found on his body in November 1912.
Several images taken by Herbert Ponting of the initial stages of Scott's tragic expedition also sold for sizable sums at the March 30 auction, including a shot of The Terra Nova, the expedition's ship, which made £13,750.
Ponting's photographs document 14 months at Cape Evans, between 1911 and 1912, where the expedition prepared for the march on the pole.
A first edition presentation copy of Apsley Cherry-Garrard's book, The Worst Journey in the World, sold for £23,750, up on its estimate of £15,000-20,000. Cherry-Garrard was among Scott's party in the early days of the expedition.
We're currently able to offer a signed letter from fellow explorer Ernest Shackleton, written to his wife less than a year before his death.
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