Captain Scott discovery letters to auction for $125,600 at Christie's

A letter detailing the discovery of the bodies of Captain Scott and his four colleagues is coming to auction in October.

The document, written by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the photographer of Scott's Antarctic preparations, and a member of the subsequent 12-strong search party, is among a single lot of 27 letters he wrote that cover the expedition's departure in June 1910 to its return to New Zealand in February 1913.

The previously unknown collection is expected to make up to £80,000 when it auctions at Christie's London on October 9.

"We have found the bodies of Scott, Wilson & Bowers, and all their records," Cherry-Garrard writes.

"Their death was, I am quite sure, not a painful one - for men get callous after a period of great hardship - but the long fight before must have been most terrible."

Scott body letter
"The long fight... must have been most terrible"

The letters also display concerns regarding the expedition's public perception, as Thomas Venning, a director at Christie's, explains.

"With hindsight, it feels as if it was always a given that the death of Scott and his companions would be hailed as a paradigm of British heroism, but the letters show us the real fear amongst the expedition members that they would be received as failures, and be subject to hostile criticism, particularly in the press," he says.

The 100th anniversary of Scott's fatal expedition this year has witnessed some stunning auction results; fascination with the final five-man party, who died just 11 miles from a supply depot, is at an all time high.

A letter written by Captain Scott just days before he died sold for £163,250 at Bonhams in March, beating its estimate by 8.8%.

A first edition presentation copy of Cherry-Garrard's book, The Worst Journey in the World, sold for £23,750 at the same sale, up on its estimate of £15,000-20,000.

See our signed letter from fellow explorer Ernest Shackleton, written to his wife less than a year before his death.

View the results here.

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