Even though he was first European to sail around New Zealand, explore certain parts of Australia, and make landfall on Hawaii, Captain James Cook’s waistcoat failed to sell at auction Sunday. The reason? The price: The coat was valued at over $800,000, but bids only reached as high as around $438,000
According to ABC.net.au, the explorer’s coat, which was being auctioned off by Sydney, Australia’s Aalders Auctions, is one of the more prominent pieces of Cook memorabilia they’d ever put on the block.
The coat had been in the possession of Cook’s family after his death in 1779, before passing into the hands of a wealthy industrialist, who then gifted it to a prominent Australian pianist, who had it fitted for a female and actually took to wearing it to formal events. Eventually, it went to a private seller who connected it with Aalder Auctions. It remains in remarkably good shape (save for a wine stain from its time with the pianist).
And while there were no takers to meet the reserve during Sunday’s auction, a high bidder is said to be in negotiations to purchase the jacket. It, in other words, probably won’t be unsold for much longer.