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    Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

    A White Star Line illustrated promotional booklet from 1911 showing Olympic and Titanic was the sleeper lot at Whyte’s Eclectic Collector sale in Dublin. The 72 page booklet made €5,800 over a top estimate of €300. The auction grossed €600,000 with over 90% of lots sold. More than 1,000 bidders registered online.

    (See post on for May 8, 2021)


    Thursday, April 25th, 2019

    Panelling from the Brittanic – sister ship of Titanic – will come up at auction in Killenard, Co. Laois on May 1 and 2. Rediscovered after their use in a Dublin city-centre cinema until 1972, both the first-class lounge and the second-class library panels are expected to generate international interest at the sale by Niall Mullen antiques at The Heritage golf resort.


    Britannic’s yard number, S-433, was one of the most significant identifying factors in these panels. The same number, 433, is to be the lot number for the panelling. Lot 433 is the second-class library, panelled and framed in maple, handsomely carved in a Colonial Adams-style design and includes a magnificent mahogany bar fronted with copper with a guiding price of €200,000 – €300,000. Lot 433a is the first-class lounge panelling, framed in richly carved polished oak and carved in Louis XV style, with a guiding price of €250,000 – €350,000.

    They were designed by Arthur Durand, who was heavily involved in all three Olympic Class liners and who had also worked on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Launched in 1914, the Britannic was intended to be superior to her twin the Titanic, which sank in 1912. During World War I the ship was requisitioned as a hospital ship and had the fittings removed. It hit a mine and sank in the Aegean Sea in 1916. The Britannic’s stored luxurious furniture and fittings were auctioned in Belfast in 1919.

    The panels will come up on May 1 when the first 600 of 1,500 lots in total will come under the hammer. The sale will also include contents from the Merrion, Burlington and Shelbourne Hotels in Dublin, an Anglo Indian curiosity cabinet originally at Lissadell House, maritime lots and items from embassies in Dublin.


    Thursday, January 10th, 2019

    A silver presentation given to Gustav Wilhelm Wolff (1834-1913), one of the founders of the Harland and Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, comes up at an auction in Surrey next February 27.  Presented in 1911, a year before Titanic set sail from the shipyard, it comes up at Catherine Southon’s sale at Farleigh Court Golf Club at Selsdon in England.  Wolff served as a Belfast Harbour Commissioner and founded Belfast Ropeworks in the early 1870’s. Like Edward Harland he served as a member of parliament for Belfast East from 1892 to 1910. In 1911 he was awarded the freedom of Belfast.

    UPDATE:  The silver casket sold for £9,728 over a top estimate of £3,000.


    Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

    Precious artefacts recovered from Titanic on the seabed are to be returned to Belfast. A group of museums and film maker James Cameron have teamed up to buy the entire Titanic Artefacts Collection.  Last year Premier Exhibitions, the US firm with rights to salvage items from the Titanic wreck, filed for bankruptcy.  Now The Royal Museums Greenwich, National Museums Northern Ireland, Titanic Belfast and Titanic Foundation plan to buy the Titanic Artefacts Collection and its 5,500 pieces and bring them home to Belfast where the ship was built.  The collection includes a piece of the hull and sets of china from the ship.  The plan is backed by The National Geographic Society and Dr Robert Ballard, the oceanographer who discovered the wreck.  It is understood the bid is in the region of £14.5 million.

    The ship sank after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage in 1912, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,500 people.  The last port of call was Queenstown, now Cobh, in Cork Harbour.

    A section of the hull recovered from the seabed



    Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

    A menu of the first meal ever served aboard the Titanic made £100,000 at auction in Wiltshire on April 21. It went to a British collector at the auction at Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes. On April 2, on Titanic’s first day of sea trials, officers and crew enjoyed their first meal served in the main dining saloon before being joined by the passengers.  The lunch included consommé mirrette, sweetbreads and spring lamb. The menu belonged to Second Officer Charles Lightoller, the most senior crew member to survive, who gave it to his wife as he left Southampton on 10 April 1912.

    There was global interest in the sale.  A key to the vessel’s chart room sold to a collector from Texas for £78,000.  The badge belonging to drowned steward Thomas Mullen, which was found with his body, sold for £57,000. Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: “We are delighted with the results of the auction and think the rarity of the objects is reflected in the prices which illustrates the ongoing fascination with the story of the Titanic.”


    Monday, January 16th, 2017

    William Conor RHA RUA ROI (1881-1968)
    Belfast Shipyard Worker on 15th April 1912  UPDATE: THIS MADE 1,200 AT HAMMER

    The significance of this image of a Belfast shipyard worker made by William Conor (1881-1968) is the date – April 15, 1912. The seated worker looks contemplative. It is easy to imagine from the image that he has just had a real shock.

    The significance of the date is that this was the day the Titanic sank in the early hours. The pose of the sitter suggests that the news had just broken at the Harland and Wolff  shipyard where she was built.

    The wax on crayon is both signed by William Conor and, unusually, dated. He did not normally date his work. Estimated at 1,500-2,500 it comes up at Morgan O’Driscoll’s first Irish art online auction of 2017 which runs to January 23.  It is one of 213 lots in total and the catalogue is online.

    These days the Titanic Centre in Belfast is one of the most visited attractions on the island of Ireland.


    Friday, August 12th, 2016

    Jack Dempsey’s title belt and a set of keys from the Titanic are among the collectibles on offer at Christie’s Out of the Ordinary sale in South Kensington, London on September 14.  The 250th anniversary edition of this celebration of the unusual and unique comprises over 90 lots.  All are now on view at a five week summer exhibition at Christie’s in the weeks leading up to the sale. Jersey based collector David Gainsborough Roberts has spent the last 40 years amassing an extraordinary selection of memorabilia from the worlds of film and entertainment, royalty and politics, sport, and travel and exploration. His collection includes personal possessions of an array of celebrities as diverse as Queen Victoria, Sir Winston Churchill, Lawrence of Arabia, the Duchess of Windsor, William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey and Captain Robert Falcon Scot. Highlights include the Titanic keys(£7,000-10,000); a pair of ear clips owned and worn by the Duchess of Windsor (£8,000-12,000); a silk head scarf and agal owned by Lawrence of Arabia (£3,000-5,000 and £10,000-15,000); and a Stetson presented to Sir Winston Churchill by the City of Calgary (£4,000-6,000).

    A further highlight is the Leica Camera Family Tree, an artwork displaying 107 Leica cameras that chart the history of the camera maker from c1923 to 2006 (£350,000-450,000).  Here is a small selection:


    A 14K GOLD, DIAMOND AND ENAMEL WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BELT 1919 Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2016  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £25,000

    A set of keys to the Titanic

    RMS Titanic – set of four keys on brass fob c1912 (£7,000-10,000) Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2016  UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR £20,000


    Monday, August 31st, 2015

    The Titanic lunch menu photo credit: Lion Heart Autographs ?

    The Titanic lunch menu photo credit: Lion Heart Autographs UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR US$88,000

    Artefacts including a lunch menu dated April 14, 1912 recovered from Titanic’s infamous Lifeboat No. 1 are to be sold in an online auction on September 30.  Lion Heart Autographs will offer three very rare pieces from the lifeboat. Lifeboat No. 1 was lowered from the Titanic with just five wealthy passengers and seven crew members, who quickly rowed away without trying to rescue anyone else. The three lots are an original Menu from the last luncheon served aboard the Titanic ($50,000-$70,000);  one of only four known printed tickets from Titanic’s Turkish Baths weighing chair ($7,500-$10,000) and a letter and envelope written by Lifeboat No. 1 survivor Mabel Francatelli (1880-1967) on New York’s Plaza Hotel stationery six months after the disaster ($4,000-$6,000).

    Francatelli was a First Class passenger who survived the sinking of the Titanic by boarding Lifeboat No.1 with her employer, fashion designer Lucy Duff-Gordon (1863-1935), her husband, wealthy Scottish nobleman Cosmo Duff-Gordon (1862-1931) and two other passengers, including Abraham Lincoln Salomon (1868-1959), the letter’s recipient. Cosmo Duff-Gordon who,  with his wife, were the only passengers interrogated by the British Inquest into the ship’s loss, had been rumored to have bribed the seven crewmen to row away from the crippled Titanic, leaving more than 1500 to drown in the icy water. Francatelli reports:

    “We do hope you have now quite recovered from the terrible experience. I am afraid our nerves are still bad, as we had such trouble & anxiety added to our already awful experience by the very unjust inquiry when we arrived in London”

    The Rare Titanic Artifacts from Lifeboat No. 1 & Other Historic Autographs Auction will take place September 30, 2015 through and online bidding platforms with other bidding opportunities on, France’s and China’s The auction will have no buyer’s premium.   Never before has Titanic material of this caliber been offered exclusively on the internet.  September 1, 2015 marks the 30-year anniversary of the discovery of the RMS Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean.


    Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
    TITANIC was launched in Belfast on May 31, 1911 – 100 years ago today.  To mark the centenary artefacts recovered from the wreck went on display for the first time in Northern Ireland. Seven of the items – which will be displayed as part of TITANICa: The Exhibition at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum – are on show for the first time anywhere in the world.

    This is one of several first-class glass serving dishes. Reminiscent of a ribbed shell, this candy or condiment dish has a modern appeal. The White Star Line logo is etched into the glass at the apex of the dish. ©1987-2004 RMS Titanic, Inc. (click to enlarge)

    This demitasse cup decorated with one of Spode’s famous cobalt blue designs is thought to have been used in the exclusive Café Parisien, adjacent to the à la carte Restaurant. The gold Greek key pattern within a cobalt field at the rim provides a striking pattern. ©1987-2004 RMS Titanic, Inc.

    This is one of several hand mirrors produced by “Royale Ivoire France.” The handle and backing are made of an early form of plastic created as a faux ivory which allowed for mass production. ©1987-2004 RMS Titanic, Inc.

    THE exhibition features 35 items from the wreck including a part of the hull structure, a porthole, silverware, glassware and personal belongings. They are part of a loan from US-based RMS Titanic, Inc a wholly owned subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and the Salvor in Possession of the wreck site.   Premier Exhibitions has conducted seven research expeditions to Titanic recovering more than 5,500 artefacts. In summer 2010 the company completed its eighth dive to collect scientific data and visuals on Titanic’s condition.
    These artefacts will join some 500 objects from the Folk & Transport Museum’s own collections. A magnificent 20ft long plan capturing last minute design changes to Titanic will be going on show for the first time. The plan has a significance which could never have been foreseen by the draughtsmen working at the Harland & Wolff shipyard a century ago. Meticulously drawn and annotated, it offers a unique opportunity to glimpse something of the world in which Titanic was built and the people who built and sailed on her.
    Part of the exhibition at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum enables the visitor to step back in time to uncover life in Belfast 100 years ago. Daily routines and  activities from the shipyard worker’s home, to the carpenters workshop, to Kelly’s Coal Yard at Belfast Lough are re-created.  The exhibition runs until August.
    The plan of the Titanic used in the inquiry into the sinking of the ship in 1912 sold for £220,000 at Devizes-based Henry Aldridge & Son in England last week. Commissioned by the British Board of Trade it had been estimated at £100,000-150,000.  The auctioneer said the sale aroused interest from around the world.