Press Release – Leski Auctions
For a man who had such a profound effect on the European colonisation of Australia, there is remarkably very little physical evidence of Captain James Cook or his personal possessions.Captain Cook’s Pistol for Sale
For a man who had such a profound effect on the European colonisation of Australia, there is remarkably very little physical evidence of Captain James Cook or his personal possessions.
While his legacy looms large in Australia’s collective consciousness, only Cook’s pistol remains as the one key link to his life and relationship with Australia. If not for the efforts of former Melbourne Lord Mayor, Ron Walker, even this would have stayed well away from our reach.
Mr Walker purchased the pistol in 2003 from the descendants of Cook at an auction in Edinburgh, Scotland. It had been willed to the family by Cook and remained in their possession for more than two centuries.
Now, almost 250 years after his death in Hawaii, the early 18th century Continental Flintlock holster pistol will be offered for sale by Leski Auctions of Melbourne under instructions from Mr Walker.
“There is a wealth of memorabilia available that is associated with the icons of Australia, be it Bradman, the Kelly Gang, Phar Lap, Kingsford Smith or Mawson,” says Charles Leski.
“Yet James Cook, arguably the most significant of that group in terms of his impact on Australia as a nation, has left us virtually nothing. This pistol is therefore the one tangible link to him personally.
“We can confidently argue that he left his DNA on this, something that canâ€™t be said for the anchor or the cannon of the HMB Endeavour, which are located in Cooktown, North Queensland and Canberra respectively.”
The lock of the pistol is signed “Corbau-A-Maastricht”, a reference to its Dutch gunmaker, Godefroi Corbau Le Jeune. It features a plain 13 bore barrel, brass fore-sight, spurred brass pommel, brass trigger guard, replacement ramrod and pipe, and pale fruitwood full stock with carved shell behind tang. The barrel is 31cm long.
The ‘Captain Cook pistol’ is a rare and compelling offering that is without peer.
Lot 21 has a pre-sale estimate of $100,000 – $200,000. (NB: Image available at [ http://www.livebidonline.com/classes/image.resizer.class.php?path=../catalogues/a420/images/0021&ext=jpg&width=700&height=700 ]
It will be offered for sale by Leski Auctions in Melbourne on Thursday, February 14th at 5.00pm.