The Roger Casson Library of Polar Exploration, Travel & Local History Heads to Auction

Shackleton Landing Party (1024x692).jpgAn important private library of polar exploration, travel and local history books, including many rare and important volumes, is to be auctioned at Tennants Auctioneers in North Yorkshire on 10th January in a single-owner sale. 

The library was put together over many years by the late Roger Casson, an architect from North East England, and is notable for the outstanding condition of much of the collection. The focus of the library is Polar Exploration in the 19th and early 20th century, which accounts for over 200 lots in the sale. Of particular note are a good collection of works recounting the ill-fated final expedition made by Sir John Franklin in 1845 to find the North-West Passage, and the numerous search missions that followed the disappearance of his ships and their crew. 

One of the most valuable lots in the sale is a limited edition of The Heart of the Antarctic, Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 by Ernest H. Shackleton. Published by Heinemann in 1909, the two-volume set, which includes two panoramas and three folding maps, in one of only three hundred sets bound in vellum. Also included in the lot, which is offered with an estimate of £7,000-10,000 (plus buyer’s premium), is the accompanying The Antarctic Book, Winter Quarters, 1907-1909, which contains sixteen signatures of the Shore Party from the famous expedition. 

Other highlights include a copy of the three-volume The South Polar Times, published by Smith, Elder between 1907-1914, of which a numbered limited edition of 250 were produced, and in this case includes two of the very rare dust wrappers (Estimate: £4,000-8,000 plus b.p.). Also of note is a copy of James Murray and George Marston’s Antarctic Days, Sketches of the homely side of Polar life by two of Shackleton’s Men (Andrew Melrose, 1913). The limited deluxe edition is signed by Murray, Marston and Shackleton, and is being offered with an estimate of £3,000-5,000 (plus b.p.).

The sale will also include numerous books on other travel, including early voyages, and exploration of the Middle East, the history of the North East and architecture. 

A fully illustrated catalogue for the sale will be available on our website, www.tennants.co.uk, two weeks before the sale, alternatively, please contact the salerooms for further details. 

Image: The Antarctic Book, Winter Quarters, 1907-1909 with signatures of the Shore Party: Estimate - £7,000-10,000

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