A pistol owned by British explorer Captain James Cook,
who first claimed Australia for Britain nearly two and a-half
centuries ago, has sold for $A219,600 ($NZ267,800), above the
top estimate set by auctioneers.
The brass pistol, an early 18th century Continental Flintlock
holster pistol with a 13-bore barrel made by Dutch gunmaker
Godefroi Corbau Le Jeune, had a pre-sale estimate of
A$100,000 to A$200,000.
One of a rare handful of personal effects remaining from the
explorer, the gun went to a private buyer in Victoria,
Australia, said Cassandra Hilber, at Leski Auctions.
"There was a lot of interest from New Zealand as well," she
Cook reached the coast of Australia in April 1770, the first
recorded European to encounter the continent's eastern coast,
after mapping the coastline of New Zealand. In August, he
planted the British flag on Possession Island in northern
It is not known if Cook was carrying the pistol when he first
stepped on Australian soil.
Cook made two later exploratory expeditions to the Pacific
and was killed in Hawaii in 1779.
The pistol 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.