James Cook's Pacific Ocean account to make up to $20,000

A copy of A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean by Captain James Cook and James King is valued at $15,000-20,000 ahead of a sale at PBA Galleries in San Francisco.

It's due to auction on April 2.

Pacific Ocean Voyage
Captain James Cook travelled widely in the Pacific

PBA describes the book as "A very handsome set of the second and 'generally preferred' edition.

"Cook's fateful third voyage, a search for the Northwest Passage, during which he was clubbed and stabbed to death by the once friendly natives of Hawaii; the first two volumes were the work of Cook himself, the third being completed by Captain James King."

Contemporary accounts describe the 1785 book as being "so eagerly awaited by the public that it was sold out on the third day after publication."

A rare copy of Atomic Energy for Military Purposes signed by 50 engineers and scientists from the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory could make $6,000-9,000.

Also known as the Smyth Report, the work was released shortly after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It explains the basics of nuclear physics and became an instant bestseller.  

Copies of the book featuring signatures from project leaders (such as Robert Oppenheimer and Richard Feynman) have sold for substantially more, with one example achieving £72,000 ($141,696) at Christie's in 2006.

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