15 Feb 2013

Captain Cook's pistol sells at auction

11:46 am on 15 February 2013

A pistol owned by Captain James Cook has sold at auction in Melbourne for $A219,600, fetching more than the top estimate set by auctioneers.

The brass pistol had a pre-sale estimate of $A100,000 to $A200,000.

The early 18th century Continental Flintlock holster pistol with a 13-bore barrel was made by Dutch gunmaker Godefroi Corbau Le Jeune, Reuters reports.

It was bought by a private collector in Victoria.

Auction house owner Charles Leski said there was a great deal of interest but in the end only two people put in bids.

He told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme it was difficult to put the right value on the pistol as so few personal items from the great explorer remain.

The gun remained in the Cook family for more than two centuries before being purchased by former Melbourne Lord Mayor Ron Walker at an auction in Edinburgh in 2003.

Mr Leski says the gun's provenance is clear but there is no evidence that Captain Cook carried or used it .