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Mungo Park's trunk
Mungo Park's trunk
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A New Zealand auction house is expected to sell a trunk, which once carried the belongings of explorer Mungo Park, for up to £26,000 .

The bullock hide trunk, covered in brass studs, will go under the hammer early tomorrow morning UK time, at the sale rooms of auctioneers, Dunbar Sloane in Auckland.

The trunk, which is estimated to sell for between $40,000 to $50,000 NZ, had accompanied Park, who was born at Foulshiels, near Selkirk, in 1771, on his travels to explore the course of the Niger in West Africa.

Park’s ill-fated second expedition back to Africa and the Niger ended with the drowning of the Borders explorer at Bussa Rapids in 1806 after a journey of more than 1,000 miles.

However, the trunk was then taken by one of Park’s descendants to New Zealand.

The trunk and its travels is the subject of a book by author, Nola Easdale, who explained the story of how the large piece of 18th century luggage had ended up in the possession of a Maori family in Petone, New Zealand.

Selkirkshire councillor, Vicky Davidson, the executive member for culture at Scottish Borders Council, says she would be delighted if the trunk could somehow be returned home to Selkirk.

“Mungo Park was an extraordinary adventurer who brought great attention to his home town in his day and it would be very fitting if we could somehow retrieve his trunk and bring it back to Selkirk in the Year of Homecoming,” she told The Southern ahead of tomorrow’s auction.

“The guide price has put it outwith the reach of the museum service, but perhaps a benefactor and Mungo Park enthusiast will step up and bring it back to Scotland.

“I’ve not completely lost hope.”