Thomson Riddick will auction an original cannon from the HMS Bounty in its June 9 sale in Dumfries, Scotland. It’s valued at up to £500,000 ($667,670).
This ship occupies a legendary place in British history. Captain William Bligh’s heavy handed attempts to impose discipline caused resentment and the crew mutinied on April 28, 1789, following a long layover in the tropical paradise of Tahiti. Eventually Bligh and a few supporters found themselves in a small rowing boat, being lowered over the side.
Some of the rebellious sailors went back to Tahiti, while most found their way to nearby Pitcairn Island – where the Bounty was scuppered in shallow water. This tiny rock in the middle of the Pacific remains home to the mutineers’ descendants today.
This cannon was removed from the ship and carried ashore to Pitcairn by the mutineers. In 1898, more than 100 years on from the mutiny, the island’s president gave it to a British captain who brought it home to the UK. Since then it’s passed through the hands of a number of different owners. It’s most recent owner reportedly kept it on his lawn.
Sybelle Thomson, director of Thomson Riddick, told the Daily Express: “The late owner of the estate was a collector of all sorts of things, especially sea-faring items.
“This is an amazing story and will attract a lot of interest. Anyone and everyone from collectors to museums around the world will want this cannon… it is a fascinating piece of naval history.”
In 2002, Christie’s auctioned off a selection of items relating to the mutiny. They included the coconut cup William Bligh drank from as he and his supporters rowed 3,600 miles to safety after being set adrift. It made £71,700 ($95,743).