A small piece of New Zealand history from one of the first official British explorations of the Antartic region is up for sale on TradeMe.
The silver dessert spoon, which left Lyttelton Harbour with explorers Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton as they embarked on the 1901 Discovery Expedition of the Antartic regions more than 110 years ago, has already attracted bids of more than $700.
The seller says the piece of silverware – engraved 'DISCOVERY 1901' - is an electroplated Lily Pattern Dessert Spoon, made by Joseph Rodgers & Sons from Sheffield, England.
A teaspoon from the same set sold at a Bonhams auction in London for 1250 Euro (NZ$2067) in 2012.
The seller says the 178mm piece of cutlery was found in a junk shop in Christchurch.
"A part of me hoped it would not reach reserve. If this piece doesn't meet reserve it's something I'm more than happy to keep."
The aim of the British exploration to the Antarctic was to find out more about the Southern continent, an area which little was known about in the 19th Century.
It was the first official British Expedition exploration of the Antarctic regions since James Clark Ross's voyage 60 years earlier.
The Ministry of Culture and Heritage has commented on the auction, saying the spoon likely fell under the Protected Objects Act 1975, which regulates the export of such objects.
The Ministry says this may mean the spoon can "only be exported from New Zealand with the permission of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage".
Under this Act the auction, which closes on July 26, is only available to New Zealand bidders.
The auction can be viewed here.