Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Rare travel books make 314,800 at Edinburgh auction

Northern Lighthouse Heritage Trust books
The money will help to safeguard other items in the trust's library

A collection of rare travel books, including one which belonged to Captain Cook, has fetched more than £300,000 at auction.

The Northern Lighthouse Heritage Trust sold them to raise money to safeguard other items in its library.

One rare book of maps from 1815 by explorer Nicolas Baudin fetched £32,000 at the sale in Edinburgh.

An early 19th Century atlas of Australia by voyager Matthew Flinders sold for £14,000.

The book was delayed in publication because the explorer was jailed for six years on his way home, and published on the day he died in 1814.

Other books which were auctioned included records of great journeys such as James Bruce's exploration of the River Nile and Captain Cook's voyages in the Pacific.

It is rare that a collection of 18th and 19th Century travel books, depicting some of history's great voyages comes up for sale
Alex Dove
Lyon and Turnbull Auctioneers

The collection made more than expected, achieving a total of £314,800.

Peter Mackay, from the Northern Lighthouse Heritage Trust, said: "This excellent result will mean that the trustees will have funds to pay for the care and conservation of books within our library, along with other historical artefacts in our care."

The Northern Lighthouse Heritage Trust, which is based in Edinburgh, said it had decided to sell the books to raise money to conserve other items in its collection such as Robert Stevenson's account of the Bell Rock light and keepers' log books from the days when lights were manual.

The Northern Lighthouse Board receives no government money and is funded by fees paid by commercial ships and large fishing boats which call in at British ports.

Auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull said it was a rare honour to sell such a large collection of "wonderful books in superb condition".

Alex Dove, who is the company's rare book specialist said: "This is a great result for the trust. It is rare that a collection of 18th and 19th Century travel books, depicting some of history's great voyages comes up for sale."



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