fact checking

The Guardian is reporting that a copy of Shakleton’s Aurora Borealis has been found in a stable in Northumberland.

Monday March 13, 2006
The Guardian

Paul Lewis

A book published by Ernest Shackleton while he was in the Antarctic has been found in stables in Northumberland.The explorer is understood to have produced about 100 copies at his Antarctic base in 1908, and just under 70 are accounted for.His colleagues wrote items for the book, Aurora Borealis, illustrated by George Marston.This copy – the covers of which are made from wooden panels from a crate that contained marmalade – was signed by Shackleton to Lady Grey. The book is expected to fetch £20,000 when it is sold by the Newcastle auctioneers Anderson and Garland this month.

Bookseller David G Anderson caught a couple of tiny errors in that.

“Shackleton produced 90 copies of the appropriately-titled Aurora AUSTRALIS whilst at the winter quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition in 1908. 60 are accounted for in a census taken by John Millard in 1985 and possibly more by now (certainly this present one.) ref: Aurora Australis: The British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909 / [edited by] Ernest Henry Shackleton ; preface by Lord Shackleton ; introduction by John Millard (Alburgh, Harleston, Norfolk: Bluntisham, 1986)

There is currently one copy on offer at ABE for $95,000 and, curiously, none on the ILAB site. Embarrassing for the book section of The Guardian to rush to print such an obvious confusion with the North Pole. Even their GBP 20,000 estimate should be more like GBP 50,000, I should think.

David G Anderson Books

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