BRITISH ARCTIC EXPEDITION 1875–76 Tin of potatoes left at Ellesmere Island by Sir George Nares' expedition, [1875-6]

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Lot 169*
BRITISH ARCTIC EXPEDITION 1875–76
Tin of potatoes left at Ellesmere Island by Sir George Nares' expedition, [1875-6]

Sold for £ 750 (US$ 910) inc. premium
BRITISH ARCTIC EXPEDITION 1875–76
Tin of potatoes left at Ellesmere Island by Sir George Nares' expedition, cylindrical tin, traces of original label sellotaped over, scattered patches of corrosion and discoloration, approximately 110mm high x 100mm diameter, preserved in later custom-made wooden glazed case, 170 x 140 x 140mm., [1875-6]

Footnotes

  • The chief aim of the British Arctic expedition of 1875–6 was to reach the North Pole, based on the belief that there existed an open polar sea. The Alert and Discovery sailed on 29 May 1875 and reached their winter quarters on the coast of Grinnell Land (Ellesmere Island) - Sir George Nares in the former ship attaining the most northerly point hitherto reached in the Canadian Arctic.

    The expedition suffered a severe outbreak of scurvy, owing in part to the Admiralty's replacement of Mediterranean lemons with much less effective West Indian limes, but compounded by the very limited supply of fresh food. One sub-lieutenant on the expedition was so tired of tinned food that he shot dead a seal while the crew were observing a religious service, an act of disrespect for which he was reprimanded by Nares (ODNB). Mention of "preserved potatoes" is made by Edward Moss in his Shores of the Polar Sea (1878; pp. 43 and 57), see below.

    Provenance: Left by the Nares Expedition at Cape Sheridan, Ellesmere Island, 1875-6; recovered August 1948 by Task Force 80, a US mission ostensibly to restock joint Canadian-US weather stations but in fact Cold War posturing over Arctic sovereignty; presented by Captain Albani Chouinard, a senior Canadian icebreaker captain who was on the mission, to J.C. Lessard, Deputy Minister of Transport, Ottawa, on 15 October 1948; given by him in the 1950s to his employee J.E. Devine; thence by descent to the present owner, accompanying documents and typed label taped to top of tin.
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BRITISH ARCTIC EXPEDITION 1875–76 Tin of potatoes left at Ellesmere Island by Sir George Nares' expedition, [1875-6]
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