An offer to Selkirk to buy Mungo Park’s trunk for a reduced price has been made by its Kiwi owner, Peter Love, after the Yarrow Valley explorer’s case failed to find a buyer at auction in New Zealand last month.
Mr Love is offering a 50 per cent discount from the original auction price of NZ$50,000 to NZ$24,500 (roughly £12,000) – and he is giving Selkirk 20 months of sole buying rights to raise the cash. The 81-year-old Maori chief said: “Mungo Park should be Scotland’s hero, as Edmund Hillary is New Zealand’s hero.”
The bullock-hide trunk accompanied Park, born at Foulshiels in 1771, on his travels to discover the source of the Niger in West Africa.
At Monday’s community council meeting, secretary Alistair Pattullo mused: “It would be great for the town, but think of the things we could spend £12,000 on.”
SBC councillor Michelle Ballantyne added: “The public would have something to say if we spent £12,000 on a trunk.”
SBC councillor Gordon Edgar agreed, replying: “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Another of Park’s trunks was used to store his belongings at Selkirk Jail.