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  • Fangs of the Sea – Norman Caldwell – First Edition 1936

    Fangs of the Sea – Norman Caldwell – First Edition 1936

    An extremely rare first edition of Shark Hunter Norman Caldwell’s classic book.

    Written in conjunction with Norman Ellison. Published by Angus and Robertson, Sydney in 1936.

    Thick octavo, 282 pages, illustrated throughout with images from original photographs, diagrams of shark catching techniques, end paper maps. Missing the original dust jacket but rare as is in original green cloth covered binding, very slightly cocked, very clean inside a pretty good copy. Best obviously available currently.

    Caldwell could see money in catching sharks – his hunting ground was in Queensland between Repulse Bay and Gloucester Island taking in the Whitsundays.

    Obviously if you don’t have the appetite for shark hunting this is not the book for you. Caldwell also went after and caught “big Fish” other than sharks and Rays and massive Grouper Fish were within his aim.

    The book has taken on almost legendary status and sought after by those with a bit of Hemingway and Lee Marvin in them.

    Caldwell’s Fangs one for the game fisherman


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  • Tek Sing Shipwreck Treasure – 1822

    Tek Sing Shipwreck Treasure – 1822

    Qing Dynasty decorated bowl recovered by Mike Hatcher from the Tek Sing shipwreck. A very good completely undamaged example.

    Beautifully and quite intensely decorated with peony flowers to the centre and rim, the latter in decorative band. Stylised flowers under rim and a blue line circling the foot. Strong colouring.

    One of the larger bowls 15.5 cm in diameter 3.5 cm high. Retains the original Nagel auction sticker and catalogue reference underneath, which provides clear provenance.

    Price $240.00
    Bright well decorated shipwreck bowl

    The Tek Sing Shipwreck – Background

    The Tek Sing (Chinese for “Bright Star”’) was a large Chinese Junk which sank in 1822 in the South China Sea at the Belvidere Shoals. She was 50 meters long, 10 metres wide and weighed a thousand tons. Manned by a crew of 200. The great loss of life has led to the Tek Sing being referred to as the “Titanic of the East”.

    Sailing from the port of Amoy (now Xiamen), the Tek Sing was bound for Jakarta, with a cargo of porcelain goods and 1,600 Chinese immigrants. After a month of sailing, Captain Lo Tauko took a shortcut through the Gaspar Straits and ran aground on a reef and sank in 100 feet of water.

    The next morning and English East Indiaman captained by James Pearl sailing from Indonesia to Borneo passed through the Gaspar Straits. He found debris from the sunken Chinese vessel and survivors. They managed to rescue 190 people.

    In 1999, marine salvor Mike Hatcher discovered the wreck. His crew raised what has been described as the largest cache of Chinese porcelain ever recovered. It was auctioned by Nagle in Stuttgart, Germany the following year


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  • Chance or Design? – A Pioneer Looks Back [Papua New Guinea] – George Seymour Fort

    Chance or Design? – A Pioneer Looks Back [Papua New Guinea] – George Seymour Fort

    George Fort (1851-1951) was prodding ninety when he wrote this reminiscence and it’s an interesting one particularly his time in New Guinea as an aid to Sir Peter Scratchley who carried out the annexation. Some history of events in that period that we have not seen elsewhere,

    Published by Robert Hale, London in 1942. Octavo, 180 pages, good images from early New Guinea photographs. Original blue cloth covered boards, a very good copy.

    As well as Australasia and New Guinea, Fort spent time in South Africa and Rhodesia. Chapters on Prospecting Experiences in Manicaland.

    Fort kept the Fort in New Guinea and had some interesting things to say about it…


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  • Cannibal Jack – The True Autobiography of a White Man in the South Seas [Fiji] – by William Diapea.

    Title goes on … printed from a manuscript in the possession of Rev James Hadfield

    A first edition published by Faber & Gwyer, London in 1928. Very scarce book. Octavo, 242 pages, frontispiece of the ledger holding the manuscript, end paper maps, facsimile of a page from the manuscript.

    A forward by Henry Stacpoole who wrote much about the region and an Introduction by James Hadfield and further a Publisher’s Note providing additional information about the subject cannibal received during the setting of the book.

    Cannibal Jack Spent some time in the Solomons and also in Fiji where most of this account is set. There is recorded in other literary quarters arguments for and against whether William Diapea actually partook in cannibal rituals. He certainly lived an exciting life quite diverse from the normal western life of the late 19th Century. But was he a cannibal .. we will leave you to decide.

    Cannibal Jack a legend in his own lunchtime …



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  • Explorations in Garhwal around Karmet [Important Mountaineering Report] – Journal of the Royal Geographical Society – January 1932.

    Explorations in Garhwal around Karmet [Important Mountaineering Report] – Journal of the Royal Geographical Society – January 1932.

    The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, January 1932, containing a report by legendary mountaineer Frank Smythe relating to the climbing of Kamet, then the highest peak climbed in the World. During the expedition they discovered and named the “Valley of Flowers” now a National Park in Sikkim. Smythe wrote well and his report is a good example of “in the moment narrative” .. you can almost feel the chills. Super images from original photographs accompany this article.

    Other articles of substance include, in the Rockies, the confirmation of the Purcell as the source of the Kootenay River and, a traverse through Norwegian Lapland by Charles Elton.

    Usual original blue wrappers, good photographs as mentioned and maps for reference. A crease across early pages from storage [priced accordingly], else clean and bright, a worthy copy of a scarce mountaineering report.

    Frank Smythe later overshadowed by Everest but up there with the best Mountaineer explorers.


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  • The Discovery of the Torres Strait; Arctic Glacier Cap; Crete and the Gulf Stream – Journal of the Royal Geographical Society – August 1941.

    The Discovery of the Torres Strait; Arctic Glacier Cap; Crete and the Gulf Stream – Journal of the Royal Geographical Society – August 1941.

    The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, November 1914, containing an important paper by “A.R.H.” regarding, from a western perspective, the discovery of the Torres Strait.

    In 1928 Sotheby had sold a collection of Spanish manuscripts one being .. a “Relacion sumaria of the discovery begun by Pero Fernandez de Quiros and completed for him by Captain Don Deiego de Prado with the help of Captain Luis Baes de Torres … a document in Prado’s handwriting .. and a document that turned out to change the then held view.

    Also, we have an excellent nicely illustrated paper on the Arctic Glaciers .. the West Ice of North East Land … including the Franklin Glacier.

    A travel account relating to Crete takes us back to warmer weather.

    Usual blue wrappers period adverts etc, illustrated with maps and images from original photographs.

    The Prado manuscript changed it all re the discovery of the Torres Strait


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