Another river whose course was a great mystery to Europeans was the Niger. However, in this case, it was the terminus, rather than the source that confused Europeans. It was discovered inland, but no one could figure out where it exited to the coast. It takes a long, circuitous route within the African continent, and in the early years of the 19th century, no one had been able to navigate that route to the sea. The English explorer Mungo Park made a couple of attempts, but ended up losing his life in the process. In 1821, James M'Queen published A Geographical and Commercial View of Northern Central Africa; Containing a Particular Account of the Course and Termination of the Great River Niger in the Atlantic Ocean. M'Queen never traveled the river, and yet he correctly determined where it exited the continent. He owned a plantation in the West Indies, and between the information he gathered from African slaves, and his study of Arab geographers, he figured out the correct location. However, not being a recognized geographer, little attention was paid to his conclusion at the time. Item 34. £1,350 (US $2,112).
Item 55 is a rare, decorative broadside relating to Captain Austin's Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin, circa 1850. Franklin headed an expedition of two ships in hopes of finding a northwest passage a few years earlier. However, by 1850, with no word from him, it was evident that something had gone wrong. In time, dozens of expeditions would be sent to find Franklin, eventually finding sufficient evidence to show that all had perished. At the time of this broadside, the hope was that they would be found alive. It displays pictures of ships and a balloon, noting that Horatio Thomas Austin's expedition planned to send out balloons as a signal to Franklin's men that rescuers were in the area. As a side note, the first of Franklin's lost ships was finally discovered in Canadian Arctic waters just this past September. £6,500 (US $10,171).