Captain Scott's ‘selfie' is going under the hammer

The photograph is being auctioned at Sotheby's in its sale of Polar materials.

A “selfie” taken by explorer Captain Scott’s team after they arrived at the South Pole to discover the Norwegians had beaten them to it is going under the hammer.

The January 1912 photograph of Scott of the Antarctic and four other men is being auctioned at Sotheby’s.

Cecilie Gasselholm, a specialist in Sotheby’s books department, said: “The photograph shows the five men reaching the South Pole and taking a selfie.

“When we say selfie, they had an automatic trigger for the camera. There were five of them and they all wanted to be in the photo.

Sea shanties (Sotheby's)
Sea shanties (Sotheby’s)

“You can almost see the disappointment in their faces. (Norwegian explorer) Roald Amundsen had already reached the South Pole 34 days earlier.

“They saw the tent and the note that Amundsen had left for them. They must have between very disappointed.”

The five in the photograph, which is expected to fetch £1,200, all died before reaching home.

Other highlights from the sale include a silver spoon and fork from the same expedition (£600) and The South Polar Times, the newspaper printed in Scott’s hut in 1912 (£25,000).

A spoon and fork from the expedition (Sotheby's)
A spoon and fork from the expedition (Sotheby’s)

The sale will also feature a collection of sea shanties sung on Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expeditions (£1,200).

A photo of a dishevelled Shackleton, having just returned from the Antarctic, with the caption “Just Back From The South Pole: This Tramp Became In After Life The Famous Sir Ernest Shackleton”, is also among the highlights (£5,000).

Sir Ernest Shackleton (Sotheby's)
Sir Ernest Shackleton (Sotheby’s)

Also featured is a book given by Shackleton to the cab shelter at Hyde Park corner, where he was a popular visitor.

Before his last voyage, the cab drivers clubbed together to buy him a set of pipes, a pipe-rack and tobacco to take on his last voyage. He never returned but his thank you letter hung on wall for years.

The collection of polar materials will be offered in Sotheby’s auction of Travel, Maps, Atlases and Natural History in London on November 14.

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