The Explorer’s Book Collection Up For Auction



Cook recorded 17 words used by the indigenous people he met, but Flinders discovered that other tribes spoke different languages, so he added their words for terms like hair, eyes, nose, and feet.

A 20-volume set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica will also be auctioned and reportedly in Flinders’ ship library.

Flinders wrote on the title page that botanist and Royal Society president Sir Joseph Banks gave him the books.

Mr Wiltshire said the encyclopedia was “a complete book from A to Z on just about any subject you can imagine” and the equivalent at the time of searching Google or Wikipedia on your mobile phone today. ‘hui.

Some of Flinders’ notes in the encyclopedia discuss the nature of God. Based on his encounters with Indigenous peoples, Flinders questions whether kindness and kindness are human traits that are innate or instilled by Christianity.

Paul Brunton, curator emeritus at the State Library of New South Wales, who published a book on the letters of Flinders, said the books up for auction were “unique and extremely important” because they were annotated by Flinders himself.

A letter from Matthew Flinders to his half-sister, Isabella (‘Belle’) Tyler.Credit:Hollie adams

“There are hardly any other books used by Flinders, to our knowledge, that have also been annotated,” Mr Brunton said.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica on sale had an added cachet in that it was Flinders’ “great patron”, Sir Joseph Banks, who had given it the set.


As for the letter, Mr Brunton said it was “very rare” for letters from Flinders to be auctioned, “so this is quite an interesting find.”

Mr. Wiltshire of Christie’s is interested in purchasing items from major Australian libraries and museums as well as private collectors.

Christie’s estimates that James Cook’s book could fetch up to $ 150,000, while the encyclopedia has a higher estimate of over $ 90,000. The letter has an estimated price range of $ 37,000 to $ 55,000.

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