$8,155 rare Colenso microscope doubles estimate at New Zealand auction
A microscope employed by botanist William Colenso was the top lot at the New Zealand auction
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Thursday 22 March 2012
A microscope used by famed botanist, missionary and politician William Colenso has more than doubled its estimate at an auction in New Zealand.
The microscope, which was among several items offered from the esteemed collection of C L Thomas, sold for NZ$10,086 ($8,155), 101.7% above the NZ$5,000 estimate.
British-born Colenso employed the lacquered brass dissecting microscope while investigating mosses and hepatica in New Zealand in the late 19th century.
Held in a wooden case, lined with purple velvet and covered with leather, the five lens microscope was sent to Colenso at his request in 1885 by his friend Joseph Dalton Hooker.
Hooker, whom Colenso met in 1841, is a celebrated scientist in his own right. He is probably best known as being one of Charles Darwin's very closest friends and confidantes before and throughout his presentation of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.
The high sale figure is a sign of the growing demand for antique scientific instruments and artefacts associated with the pioneers of science.
A set of the second edition of Sir Walter Buller's A history of the birds of New Zealand was the second most valuable lot of the day. It achieved $8,856.
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