Auction ahoy for seadog's telescope

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2014
Antique telescope auctioned
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ANTIQUE VIEWING: Nigel Morris, of Whanganui, sold a telescope that once belonged to Captain Martin Jensen, of Waitara, to raise funds for a sail training trust.

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A century-old telescope that once belonged to a Taranaki sea captain has washed up online for auction.

Once the property of the late Captain Martin Jensen, of Waitara, the telescope was bought by Whanganui resident, Nigel Morris, at a maritime auction 12 years ago.

He said the telescope was bought on a whim.

"All I remember is missing out on what I wanted and decided to go home with something," he said.

But the telescope had been sitting on his shelf "long enough" and it was time to put it to a good use, Mr Morris said.

"I didn't know its history and never really did much research into it until I decided to auction it," he said.

It has the words "Capt Martin Jensen", "Master Ts Zior", and "SS Manukau" and "SS Tainui" engraved on its outer tube.

Funds raised from the Trade Me auction will go towards the R Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust, based in the Bay of Islands, to enable it to run its week-long Youth Development Voyages programme.

"My family had such a great time out on the schooner with the captain and his crew, and it's such a worthwhile cause I am pleased to have helped out even just a little," Mr Morris said.

The telescope went online on Friday with a starting price of $100, and was sitting on a bid of $505 yesterday.

Mr Morris said he was happy to let the auction decide the telescope's value as he had no idea of its original worth.

Captain Jensen was born at Hirchals, North Jutland, Denmark in 1854 and traced his lineage back to the Vikings.

He was 22 when he arrived in New Zealand after sailing from London aboard the barque Penshaw, bound for Wellington.

Captain Jensen was the master of the schooner Zior for 11 years and was also later offered the position of master of the Manukau. He came ashore when his last ship, the Tainui, was sold in 1917. Captain Jensen retired at the age of 70 and lived in Waitara until his death in 1948.

Bidders can search for "Capt Martin Jensen" on TradeMe to bid on the telescope. The auction closes on Monday.

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