Mungo’s trunk fails to sell

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The trunk that once belonged to explorer Mungo Park and was expected to sell for up to NZ$50,000 (£26,000) at an auction in New Zealand last week, failed to find a buyer.

However, auctioneers Dunbar Sloane said it remained “open to offers from interested parties”.

The bullock-hide trunk, covered in brass studs, went under the hammer in Auckland on Friday. It 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.

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

The trunk was then taken by one of Park’s descendants to New Zealand.

Speaking ahead of last week’s auction, Selkirkshire councillor Vicky Davidson, the executive member for culture at Scottish Borders Council, said she would be delighted if the trunk could somehow be returned home to Selkirk.

“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.”

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