Captain Cook's pistol locked and loaded

A rare piece of Australian history has gone under the hammer, netting a small but tidy profit for its seller.

A pistol belonging to Captain James Cook, handed down through the family for many generations, was sold at auction in Melbourne on Thursday, for almost $220,000.

Formula 1 chairman Ron Walker put the 50 centimetre weapon, made in the early 18th century, up for sale after buying it in 2003 at a Cook family auction in Scotland.

A spokeswoman for auctioneers Leski Auctions said that the pistol sold for well above its reserve price of $75,000, to a private Victorian buyer.

Including buyer's commission, the pistol sold for $219,600.

How the weapon was used is not known, but Captain Cook bequeathed it to his elder sister Margaret.

Mr Walker told Fairfax Media this week that he hoped the buyer would be a museum or a collector.

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