A rare copy of Matthew Flinders' maps of the Australian coast published as the great explorer lay dying are being sold at auction. The maps are among books valued at STG15,000 ($A26,311) being put up for sale in Edinburgh on January 13 to raise money for the Northern Lighthouse Heritage Trust to maintain a library, largely collected up until the mid 19th century.
Douglas Gorman from the Northern Lighthouse Board, which is responsible for lighthouses across Scotland, said funds were needed to pay for the care and conservation of books in the library.
"Following professional cataloguing, the trust has identified an element of the collection it considers is relevant to, and part of, the Scottish lighthouse heritage," Gorman said.
"This will be retained and conserved for future reference by those interested in that heritage.
"The remaining books in the collection, while of great general interest, do not, in the view of the trust, form an essential part of the lighthouse heritage and, after consultation with the National Library of Scotland, it has decided to offer these for sale."
The British government commissioned Flinders in 1801 to chart the coast of Australia.
The project took him three years but it was another 11 years before his books were published and presented to him on his deathbed in 1814.
The collection going on sale also includes works by Captain James Cook.
Alex Dove, book specialist with auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull, described it as a "great collection of 18th and 19th century travel books" depicting some great voyages "from the exotic climes of Indonesia and Australasia to those closer to home around the Scottish coast".