Captain Cook’s pistol sells for £150,000

The pistol belonging to Captain James Cook which was sold at auction
The pistol belonging to Captain James Cook which was sold at auction
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a PISTOL owned by Captain James Cook has gone under the hammer at auction for £150,000.

The brass Continental Flintlock holster pistol with a 13-bore barrel was handed down through the same family for more than 200 years, was sold at auction in Melbourne Australia.

The gun was made by Dutch gunmaker Godefroi Corbau Le Jeune in the early 18th century and is one of a rare handful of personal effects remaining from the explorer.

It is not known if Cook, whose training as a seaman began in Whitby, was carrying the pistol when he first stepped on Australian soil.

Formula 1 chairman Ron Walker and former Melbourne Lord Mayor put the 50 centimetre weapon, made in the early 18th century, up for sale after buying it in 2003 at a Cook family auction in Edinburgh.

He said he had hoped the buyer would be a museum or a collector.

A spokeswoman for auctioneers Leski Auctions said the pistol sold for well above its reserve price of $75,000, to a private Victorian buyer.

The gun’s pre-sale estimate was between £67.000 to £133,000, but a private buyer closed the bidding much higher than expected.

How the weapon was used is not known, but Captain Cook bequeathed it to his elder sister Margaret.

Meanwhile, the first image of a kangaroo shown to Europeans thanks to the voyages of Captain Cook must stay in the country after an export ban was imposed on the painting until August.

The Government has imposed the ban on The Kongouro From New Holland, as well as the portrait of Large Dog, a dingo.

They were reproduced in oil paintings by George Stubbs and the export ban allows time for potential buyers to find £5.5m to keep them in the UK.

The animals were spotted by Captain Cook’s crew when the 368-ton Whitby-built Endeavour, a squat, sturdy flat bottomed vessel that toured the east coast of Australia in the 1770s.

The former coal carrier was made at Thomas Fishburn’s yard, close to the site where the Endeavour replica was berthed when she first came to Whitby in May 1997.

The two paintings by Stubbs (1704-1806) were commissioned by wealthy botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who paid to be aboard the Endeavour with his dogs and servants.

Banks brought back two kangaroos, then also spelled kanguru.

The art was first shown at the Royal Academy in London in 1773.

Cook, who arrived in Whitby as a sailing apprentice in 1746 at 18, said the kangaroo “skin is cover’d with a short hairy fur of a dark mouse or grey colour” with hare ears.