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  • Jean-Baptiste Charcot – Polar Explorer – Commemorative Bronze Medal – 1936

    Jean-Baptiste Charcot – Polar Explorer – Commemorative Bronze Medal – 1936

    Large commemorative medal to celebrate the life of Jean-Baptiste Auguste Etienne Charcot (1867-1936) struck by the French Mint, in 1936, under the auspices of Expeditions Polaires Francaises. Charcot Frances greatest polar explorer led two successful expeditions to the Antarctic during the Heroic era. He was a doctor and son of neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot.

    His first expedition from 1904-1907 in the Francais explored the west coast of Graham Land. This was followed by the 1908-1910 explorations in the Pourquoi-Pas? The subject of the edition offered here. Later he turned his attention to the North and made scientific explorations off Greenland and Svalbard again in the Porquois-Pas? He died when the ship was wrecked in a severe storm off the coast of Iceland in 1936.

    This substantial bronze medal, 67mm in diameter and weighing 150 gm celebrates his life. It was designed by E.M. Lindauer, with a bust after Paul Richer. Richer, an anatomical artist, was a colleague of Charcot’s father and worked with him in illustrating certain medical texts. Richer’s sculptures are found in museums around the world including the Musee d’Orsay.

    The medal carries a bust of J.B. Charcot on the front acknowledging Paul Richer and on reverse and image of the Pourquoi-Pas? Among icebergs with Expeditions Polaires Francaises above and the ships name below. Very good condition, if not fine condition, with very strong relief.

    An example of this medal sold as lot 79 in the Scott Amundsen Centenary Sale at Bonhams, London in 2012 for just short of A$2,500

    Special Antarctic Collectable Celebrates the life of J.B. Charcot


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  • Roald Amundsen – My life as An Explorer – First Edition 1927

    Roald Amundsen – My life as An Explorer – First Edition 1927

    A first edition published by Doubleday, New York in 1927 a year before Amundsen’s tragic death.

    Large octavo, 282 pages with charts of the north and south polar regions, facsimile telegrams and frontispiece of the “Gjoa” the shallow draft vessel Amundsen used in securing the Northwest Passage.

    Written in Amundsen’s readable and very open style. He covers his early memories … his exploration yearning came from reading Franklin’s account … he was most attracted to the hardships … such as Franklin being so desperate that they resorted to eating shoe leather. His first expedition to the Antarctic on the Belgica. Followed by the conquest of the Northwest Passage and then the successful dash to the South Pole. More adventures in the North and the airplane flight with Lincoln Ellsworth followed by the Airship Norge.

    He holds no punches in assessing with contemporaries. Frederick Cook gets a big tick for his intelligence and ingenuity … Cook’s later difficulties, including jail, did nothing to change his mind. Nobile however comes in for some heavy criticism having spent many hours of the Norge flight in his sleeping bag and whilst awake his contributions were incompetent and dangerous. Stefansson cops it for suggesting blond Eskimo and writing a book titled “The Friendly Arctic” when decidedly unfriendly … a bit harsh we think! And the British for being sore losers … seemingly when Amundsen presented at the Royal Geographical Society, he praised his dog strategy … and the President called for a toast to the dogs … British humour Roald lighten up!

    With all of that an enjoyable and information packed autobiography that should sit in any cold weather library

    Amundsen at the top and the bottom of the World.


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  • My Antarctic Honeymoon [The Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition] – Jennie Darlington – First Edition 1957

    My Antarctic Honeymoon [The Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition] – Jennie Darlington – First Edition 1957

    Published by Frederick Muller a first edition 1957. Octavo, 256 pages with endpaper map and endpaper plan of Stonington Island and the camp, frontispiece of Jennie Darlington and a couple of other photographic images. Very good condition in a very good dust jacket designed by Eisner.

    Jennie Darlington joined her husband Harry on the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition of 1946-1948. Along with Finn Ronne’s wife Jackie they were the first woman to winter over in the Antarctic … and in Jennie’s case the first to get pregnant.

    Unique in the cannon of Antarctic writing and the feminine touch mean we likely learn more about the expedition personnel and the every-day tensions. Finn Ronne comes in for some criticism and is compared poorly with Byrd with whom Harry Darlington had previously served. The living arrangements are interesting, the condition of the American base on arrival not too flash. The nearby British base is accused of having pilfered certain useful fixtures. At times Ronne bans co-operation which doesn’t stop Jennie and Harry sneaking off to the better comfort and camaraderie under the Union Jack. Tensions grow when the rescue of some of the British team requires the use of Ronne’s aircraft … he worries about the fuel … Harry gets demoted … but the news that he is to be a father brightens the day ..

    Scarce and a unique Antarctic perspective



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  • Commemorative Medal  – The Andree Balloon Expedition – Issued 1930 on the Discovery of the Party Lost in 1897.

    Commemorative Medal – The Andree Balloon Expedition – Issued 1930 on the Discovery of the Party Lost in 1897.

    A original and rare bronze medallion issued in Sweden following the discovery of the bodies of the ill-fated Andree Balloon expedition towards the North Pole.

    On the 5th and 6th of August 1930, a Norwegian Expedition, on board the “Brtvaag” of Aalesund, which was equipped both for scientific investigation and sealing, when on its way to Franz Joseph Land went on shore on the south-western point of White Island, which forms the easternmost portion of the Svalbard (Spitzbergen) Archipelago. The scientific leader of the expedition was Gunnar Horn, a geologist, representing the Norway Svalbard and Polar Sea Research Institution. On landing, on the 6th August, the sealers of the party discovered the remains of the Swedish Andree Expedition, which had been lost thirty-three years before.

    This rare bronze medal was struck by the Swedish Geographical Society in 1930 to commemorate the original expedition and the finding of the bodies and relics. Designed by Alfred Ohison. 56mm in diameter with conjoined busts of the expedition leader Salomon August Andree (1854-1897), Nils Strinberg (1872-1897) and Knut Fraenkel (1870-1897). Their names are engraved along with “Andrees Polarexpedition 1897”

    On the reverse is a map of Spitzbergen, Svalbard and Kvitoya with the path of the balloon delineated and a soaring eagle. Engraved around the outside is the expression “De djarva polarforskaranas staft aterbordades till fosterjorden 1930” which translates as “the dust of the polar explorers was taken back to their native land in 1930”. Very good condition albeit with a stain on the bust at front.

    Andree was Sweden’s first balloonist. Sweden had fallen behind in terms of Polar exploration and his plans to be the first to fly a hydrogen balloon over the North Pole, expecting to land in Russia or Canada inspired the nation. Unfortunately, things did not work out. The diaries and records recovered were so comprehensive that a book about the tragedy published in 1930 is a pretty special record of events. An English translation was made that same year … Voyager has very good copy with explorer provenance.

    Commemorates the incredible attempt of Andree and his fellow balloonists and the eventual resolution of their disappearance


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  • The Voyage of the “Why Not” The Journal of the second French South Polar Expedition, 1908-1910. Jean Charcot – First English Edition 1911

    The Voyage of the “Why Not” The Journal of the second French South Polar Expedition, 1908-1910. Jean Charcot – First English Edition 1911

    Published by Hodder and Stoughton, London a First English Edition 1911. An excellent copy of a scarce Heroic Era volume. Translated by Philip Walsh.

    Quarto, 315 pages original blue cloth clothe covered boards. Spine and front board lettered in gilt, image of penguin in white on spine, front board with gilt relief of the expedition vessel “Pourquoi-Pas?”. Folding frontispiece, maps and 42 pages of illustrations from photographs. Excellent condition with a little light foxing and age, covers in very good condition with the gilt image to front bright and clean.

    The exploration of the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Sea by Dr Jean-Baptiste August Étienne Charcot (1867-1936), in the “Pourquoi-pas?”

    Charcot led the first French Antarctic expedition (1904-07), which reached Adelaide Island. In this Charcot’s second expedition he surveyed over 2000 km of little known Antarctic coastline returning 28 volumes of reports and 3000 photographs.

    Richard Howgego notes that “in the eyes of many contemporary historians, Charcot’s contribution to Antarctic science outweighs all others.”

    Never returning to the Antarctic, Charcot continued exploring after the First World War, until wrecked off the coast of Iceland in 1936 resulting in his death and forty-two crew members.

    This is a fascinating account, richly illustrated with dramatic photographs from the expedition.

    Charcot and the “Why Not?” Antarctic Rarity


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  • Hooded Racket-Tailed Magpie (Crypsirhina Cucullata) From Burma – John Gould – The Birds of Asia – 1860′s

    Hooded Racket-Tailed Magpie (Crypsirhina Cucullata) From Burma – John Gould – The Birds of Asia – 1860′s

    Original hand-coloured lithograph produced on limestone from John Gould’s most impressive series “Birds of Asia” completed and published in London in the1860’s.

    A striking bird found the in the lower jungles of Northern Burma. Threatened by clearing but currently still strong in numbers. Also known as the Hooded Crypsirhina and Hooded Treepie

    First formally described by Thomas Jerden a British ornithologist in 1862. You can see form John Gould’s narrative that he was working from sketches provided by Jerden and unlikely to have an example of the bird.

    The birds appear to be figured in natural size being roughly 30 cm long and two thirds of that being the remarkable tail… the accompanying narrative describes their colouring is some detail. The execution of the lithograph is excellent, it is very clean and the colouring still very bright and full and enhanced by the use of gum arabic which creates a sense of richness and depth

    We all know about John Gould but maybe not so much about Jensen.

    Thomas Caverhill Jenson (1811-1872) was a Scottish born surgeon in the East India Company and then the Military and spent most of his working life in India. He was a keen naturalist in a number of fields. Early on he sent birds back to Sir William Jardine in Scotland to be classified. They arrived moth eaten so from then on Jerden decided to complete that work himself. He became the leading authority in the broader region and sponsored by Lords Canning and Elgin produced The Birds of India in three volumes in the 1860’s. He was also an instigator of the broader work The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma.

    Price $590.00 unframed … enquire if you wish

    Unusual well executed Magpie from Burma


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