AMHERST, NH.- RR Auction is offering the public the opportunity to bid on a vast array of recovered relics and signed memorabilia relating to one of the grandest—and most infamous—vessels to ever succumb to the sea. These surviving items convey the astonishing legacy of not only the ship that epitomized the very meaning of opulence, luxury, and stability in the early 20th century, but her passengers as well; the individuals whose names would forever became synonymous with the most devastating peacetime maritime disaster in history. Among the other museum quality pieces to be featured: · Last known letter from Titanic’s heroic bandleader · An original fragment of the Titanic’s aft grand staircase; which was within frightening proximity of the exact location the ship broke in two. · An 18 karat gold collar stud: recovered from the body of first class passenger, Austin Partner, and returned to his family. · A nostalgic locket; recovered from the body of George Dunton Widener’s valet, Edward Herbert Keeping, within weeks of the tragedy · Rare pay slip from a surviving crewman; for his six days of service aboard the Titanic. Locket recovered from millionaire George Dunton Widener’s valet up at auction Mr. and Mrs. George Dunton Widener from Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg, France, with their son, Harry Elkins Widener, Mr. Widener’s man servant, Edward (a/k/a Edwin) Herbert Keeping, and Mrs. Widener’s maid, Amalie Henriette Gieger. They had been in Paris with their servants searching for a chef for Widener’s new Philadelphia hotel, the Ritz Carlton. While Mrs. Widener and her maid were saved, the Widener men as well as Keeping died during one of the largest maritime disasters in history. An original locket among Keeping’s personal effects recovered from RMS Titanic tragedy will be featured in an upcoming Titanic auction, from New Hampshire based RR Auction in April. The beautiful locket containing two photographs, one of his wife and the other of their daughter and was officially recorded by the provincial coroner of Nova Scotia before it was returned to his wife. Keeping was 33 years old. His body, the 45th to be recovered by the chartered cable ship Mackay-Bennett. Keeping’s wife replaced her daughter’s water damaged portrait with one of her husband and the locket has remained in Keeping’s family continuously until the present. He had met his wife, Karin Johansson, who was from Sweden while they were both working for the Wideners as servants at the Widener estate. Johansson was home in Pennsylvania attending to their 3 year-old daughter when the disaster occurred. “It represents one of the most impressive artifacts with direct ties to the Titanic, says Bobby Livingston, VP at RR Auction, “The rarity and beauty of this striking and poignant locket cannot be overstated.” Original material relating to the Widener party on board Titanic is practically nonexistent as all three men were lost.
I, personally, find this auction fascinating and morbid at the same time. To bid on items that belonged to fellow human beings that were destroyed in such a devastating fashion is simply macabre, yet sentimental. Like many of you, my fascination is fueled by the hugely successful epic romantic movie of this legendary disaster. “Titanic” sailed into theaters in 1997, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage. The love story was epic and thrilled international audiences, as this acclaimed movie asked the question, “What if the characters of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet actually existed on this doomed ship?”. Though we will never know if a real love story between social classes took place on this ship, it is fascinating to ponder. “Titanic” created a huge interest in this historical event that has never seemed to wane, in fact resurgence into the ship, its crew, the passengers, and of course the physical shipwreck has grown, especially now, since authentic articles of the shipwreck are now being auctioned off. Below are only a few of the items that are being auctioned off by RR auction house, many in excellent condition, considering that these items were under icy sea waters for more than 90 years. Two items stand out to me, the kimono style silk robe and the simple wool vest. In my imagination, I wonder if these articles belonged to real actual people that were like “Jack” and “Rose”, two young lovers overjoyed with their new romance, a romance that would live on into eternity.
An original deck chair that once graced the decks of R.M.S. Titanic.
Silk Japanese kimono-style full-length robe worn by iconic Titanic First Class passenger Lucy Christiana as she escaped the Titanic into a lifeboat and later aboard the rescue ship R.M.S. Carpathia. This looks like something “Rose” would wear, this disrobe, during the gorgeous sketch scene with “Jack”.
The vest belonging to a third class passenger named William Henry Allen was found in the Titanic wreckage. In the movie, the character “Jack” wore a vest very much this artifact.
A personalized gold bracelet with platinum letters spelling “Amy”, inset with diamonds
This menu was given to first class passengers on the day of the sinking of the Titanic. The keys were used by Titanic crewman Samuel Hemming to unlock the door where the lifeboat lanterns were held after he was ordered by the ship’s Captain to ensure all 15 lifeboats had lit oil lamps.
A pair of men’s cotton gloves from the RMS Titanic Inc. These gloves were probably used by the first class wait staff, will serving on 1st class passengers.
All photos are courtesy of artdaily.org and R.R. Auction . For more info on this legendary auction as well as other auctions of historical artifacts, visit R.R. Auctions