Shackleton expedition ice pick to auction for $1,670 in the UK

An ice pick used by James Dell, a member of Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic expedition, will auction at Greenslade Taylor Hunt on March 7 in the UK.

Shackleton Ice Pick
Dell became good friends with Shackleton, and was known as one of the hardest working members of the crew

The pick comes from Shackleton's Antarctic expedition in 1921-1922. It is valued at up to ?�1,000 ($1,670).

James Dell first earned his position on Shackleton's expedition as support crew for Robert Scott's 1901-1904 journey to the South Pole, in which Shackleton himself took part. However, he injured himself while stripping a seal carcass and was forced to stay behind for a portion of the trip.

His efforts earned him a good word from Scott, which cemented his position in the Shackleton expedition.

"Dell proved himself one of the best men in the expedition. He was always cheerful, hard working and very intelligent," Scott wrote.

During Dell's time with Shackleton they became good friends, and after the explorer died of a heart attack on his third journey to Antarctica, Dell was a pallbearer at the funeral, even sewing Shackleton's body into the burial bag.

"He was the last person to see him alive and made the cross that originally marked his grave on South Georgia before a more permanent one was made," commented auctioneer Peter Rixon to Western Morning News. "He really was there during the golden age of polar exploration"

The ice pick was used for short missions between the ships on the expedition.

A former Royal Navy soldier, Dell re-enlisted during the first world war and later went on to serve with the Special Operations Executive during the second world war, specialising in coastal intelligence.

In October 2013, a pair of medals presented to a doctor who served on one of Shackleton's missions exceeded all expectations by realising ?�48,000 ($77,237) - an 864% increase on estimate.

Paul Fraser Collectibles is offering this signed letter from Ernest Shackleton, which was written aboard the RMS Mauretania to his wife.

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