Hunt himself wore this glove as he climbed to 27,400ft on May 26, 1953, before he was overcome with extreme fatigue and altitude sickness. Instead, Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay reached the summit three days later, the news reaching London in time to be reported on the morning of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
The mitten is discoloured from age but otherwise remarkably well-preserved – and clearly matches the right-hand mitten that was offered (but went unsold) at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, in a Marine Works of Art sale in 2003.
It was offered at Bishton Hall together with an autograph letter signed by Hunt on personal stationery explaining that the glove was donated by him in the mid-1970s to a village auction being held to raise funds for a new scout hut for the 1st Newtown Scout Group in Powys. The vendor’s late father purchased the mitten from the sale.
Serendipity had it that more John Hunt memorabilia was offered on the same day at Dominic Winter in South Cerney, Gloucestershire. This included a first edition dust-jacketed copy of Hunt’s book The Ascent of Everest signed to the title and half title by 14 expedition members. Estimated at £700- 2500, it sold at £4600.