A new way to mine for “real gold”

We invite visitors to Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero | Central City Library to call in to the Sir George Grey Special Collections Reading Room on Level 2 to view our treasure – no mining picks required.

In 2007 the book Real Gold: treasures of Auckland City Libraries was published by AUP and the library with support from the Auckland Library Heritage Trust. The treasure book with insightful text by Iain Sharp and luscious photographs by Haru Sameshima keeps on giving.

Not only can you buy the book ($20) here but you can see the essays online through our website.

To continue developing the gold nuggets in the book we have begun a display programme in the Reading Room where items from the book and the Sir George Grey Special Collections will always be on display. We invite you to visit the Reading Room to sample Real Gold originals. The display will change every month for your delight and to minimise the exposure to light levels for these valuable works.

July starts with letters to Grey from Charles Darwin, 1846-1855. Darwin had visited the Bay of Islands in 1835 and was interested in the possibility of moa fossils in the limestone caves.  He also asks after local pigeon fanciers and requests some skins to compare with European pigeons which might show signs of ‘variation’.

He concludes with the statement,
“I have during many years been collecting all the facts and reasoning which I could, in regard to the variation and origin of species”

Charles Darwin’s book with something like that title came out in 1859.

Ref: Charles Darwin. Letter to Sir George Grey. 9 December 1855 (GL:D8-3)

You can read all the letters from Darwin to Grey – along with transcripts - on our database Manuscripts Online (Ref: GL D8). Take a look at Darwin’s handwriting in the Real Gold case and here:

Ref: Charles Darwin. Letter to Sir George Grey. 9 December 1855. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, GL:D8-3.

In August we will feature Henry Purcell’s The harpsichord master published in London in 1697. This is thought to be a unique work.  It features two compositions by the baroque composer not found anywhere else.

Ref: Henry Purcell and others. The harpsichord master. London: I. Walsh, 1697. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 7-C1921.

If you visit the Library for our Spring Series of Thursday heritage concerts you can hear Peter Watts (harpsichord) and Katharine Watts (soprano) explore the music of this rare book. We plan to record this recital to develop a Real Gold podcast series so that you can explore our library treasures from home.

Author: Jane Wild, Manager, Heritage Collections