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Extraordinary collection of photos chronicling life of Sir Edmund Hillary to go on auction block

An extraordinary collection of historic photographs chronicling the life of Sir Edmund Hillary is set to be sold at auction - the first time they’ve been on sale in New Zealand.

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The images were initially owned by Fairfax but were lost to the company after a failed attempted to digitise them. Source: 1 NEWS

A moment of sheer joy after Sir Edmund and Tenzing Norgay’s successful Mt Everest summit is one of 250 vintage photographs to go under the hammer at an Auckland auction house.

“It's rare to see images like this, so to see a whole sale is entirely unique,” Webb Auction House’s Charles Ninow said.

In 2013, Fairfax Media sent millions of photographs and negatives from its Australasian library to Little Rock, Arkansas, to be digitised.

The collection was lost after the scanning deal fell through, before being recovered from a warehouse in the US.

American art dealer Daniel Miller purchased the photographs for several million dollars.

“They were ready to get rid of it,” Mr Miller said.

He said while most of the images “have never been seen before, and some were published back in the day,” others were hidden away in an archive.

Mr Miller is now selling some of the images back to Kiwi collectors, several of which are estimated to go for $1500.

“It shows how much wonderful interest there is in Everest and the Ed Hillary story,” Sir Ed’s son, Peter Hillary, said.

His family hopes some might find a home where they can be enjoyed by all.

“I hope that there are lots of museums and other places around New Zealand who'll be looking at this collection because there certainly are some very nice pictures,” he said.

The auction can be viewed online, and will finish tomorrow night.