In July 1897 Andrée and two companions, Knut Fraenkel and Nils Strindberg, left Spitsbergen in their balloon Örnen and disappeared.
It was not until 1930 that two Norwegian walrus hunters who had gone ashore on White Island to look for fresh water found the bodies of the three aeronauts.
They also found Andrée’s diary and even cylinders of exposed film from which some images relating to their attempts to find help were eventually retrieved.
Offered in a June 16 book sale held by Stockholms Auktionswerk (22.5% buyer’s premium) were two lengthy, detailed and often quite forthright, even critical diaries kept by Axel Stakes, the engineer who had been responsible for designing the equipment by which the Örnen was filled with hydrogen, both for an aborted attempt of 1896 and that fateful expedition of the following year.
Prior to auction it was announced that, because of their historic significance, the diaries would be subject to an export ban, but they still sold at a notably higher than estimate Skr450,000 (£38,135).
A splendidly bound album that had belonged to Stakes, containing almost 60 photographs relating to preparations for the expedition, had carried a higher estimate than his diaries but fell a little short of expectations at Skr120,000 (£10,170).