Online Display Of Titanic Related Items From Private Collection
Scarce & Special ☆☆☆☆☆
UNSEEN UNUSUAL UNEQUALLED ARTIFACTS & OTHER ACQUISITIONS
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THE MOST INCREDIBLE UNKNOWN UNSEEN TITANIC ARTIFACT YOU HAVE EVER SEEN !
UNTIL TODAY NOT DOCUMENTED IN ANY BOOK, NOR MUSEUM, NOR COLLECTION !
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TITANIC BOMBSHELL !!!
Most of Titanic's steel hull plates were up to 1 inch (2.54 cm) thick. Plates in areas suffering more stress would be 1.25" (3.2 cm) or even 1.5" (3.8 cm). Prior to riveting the plates together – sometimes multi-layered for added strength – holes for the rivets had to be created first. This was done in the Platers Shed, by hydraulically pressing out a "divot", or also called "(divot) slug", "(divot) punch (out)", "(rivet) punch(ing)", or sometimes simply "(riveting) plug", or, as shipyard workers would call, "blae"/"blai". Essentially, a divot is a steel plate leftover, scrap metal. Harland & Wolff shipyard workers would collect a bunch, stamp/engrave them to their liking, then sometimes nickel (chrome?) plate them (as this divot), and then these would have been sold to locals and also visitors of Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. Apparently this particular divot was punched from 7/8 (0.875) inch plating.
Although there seems no way in confirming, this divot in my collection almost certainly is pre-sinking: a memento of the launch, 31 May 1911. Interesting about this divot is that its side has not been machine polished, thus retaining the ripped steel structure from the punching. Only the top and the top's contour have been machine polished.
Most experts and collectors do not know what the metal object is. Henry Aldridge & Son, Bonhams, Christie's, Mealy's, NMNI, RR Auction, Titanic Universe, Woolley & Wallis: almost all auctioneers and institutions, even via their maritime specialists, have mispresented and keep on mispresenting a divot as "rivet (head)" while not even looking like a rivet (head)! Not too long ago, Oct. 2017, Henry Aldridge & Son had auctioned 2 divots describing them, again, as "rivet head". Already 3 months prior, following a previous "rivet head" mispresentation by Aldridge, I notified the auctioneer about this and also several other mispresentations, but of course never received a reply, much less a "thank you"! March 2018: Even after a colleague collector confronted Aldridge with their repeated ridiculous description "rivet head", the auctioneer quite unbelievable and for unknown reason(s) flatout persisted in the item being a "rivet head". Again at their October 2018 auction: "rivet head"! But then again, Aldridge & Son has a reputation for incorrect item descriptions; the UK auctioneer once even presented a modern 1980s/1990s fake (artificially aged) Titanic paperweight as an authentic antique, and sold the worthless thing for some $253! Then there was this "envelope to have been sent from the Titanic", whereas these envelopes handstamped "Titanic" never have been on the ship but were postally processed 3 weeks prior to the maiden voyage (which was delayed by 3 weeks). Or what to think of the virtually worthless NYC hotel register "signed by John Jacob Astor", whereas the signature clearly reads "John Jaboc [sic] Astor" and which in all aspects differs significantly from Astor's signature. The ignorance (and arrogance) among vendors, auctioneers, is also evident from occasional low sales revenues. ... more
Featured in the previous article is my divot from 7/8 inch steel plate simply inscribed "S.S.Titanic". Now my other divot, this article, clearly is a post-sinking edition, a memento of the disaster on 14-15 April 1912. It appears to be from 1.25 inch plate, thus more specifically hull plate, and its side is decorated with 3 times a double 3-leafed shamrock (better known as: clover), national symbol of Ireland. The initial slightly concave shaped underside (from the pressing out) has been flattened, polished, and shows a screw thread (original, because also seen on another divot), this possibly being a preparation for a walking stick. So, prior to flattening the base, and adding the screw thread, and polishing the side, and the ornate engraving, this divot was an estimated roughly 10% higher in weight: ca. 265 gr (9.3 oz). ☆
$ 500 REWARD FOR ANY INFO LEADING TO IDENTIFYING WOMAN AND/OR GIRL
Yet another indescribably scarce and special Titanic related item: a cabinet card photo portrait, undoubtedly pre-sinking. Really, its significance, rarity and (potential) value to my belief and conviction are fabulous and can not be overstated. An outright incredible and almost impossible once in a lifetime find. Oval shaped real photo, most probably gelatin silver print, mounted on heavy card stock. The black border and gold text are embossed. Actually, "White Star Lines" is misspelled (as seen sometimes); in reality the company's name was not plural. Cabinet cards such as this splendid specimen were not produced on the ship, but likely by entrepreneurs in Southampton, UK. (The cabinet photo portrait card was introduced in 1866 and remained popular until c1914.) With a magnifying glass it is hard to see and to determine, but the pictures in the magazine that both females are looking at certainly appear to be images (photos) of steamships. The card's back, at the top, shows indentations of pencil (graphite), which has faded over time. With side lighting, these faint writing remnants unfortunately remain unreadable.
At one time the heavily damaged bottom left corner was repaired with tape (not by me of course) but this had separated and then the broke off corner got lost for good. Over time I have seen several tens of thousands cabinet cards, but any major damage to a corner is exceedingly exceptional; perhaps only one in several thousand cards will show this. Go figure: cabinet cards are thick and also sturdy (still today), and mostly sitting in albums, shoe boxes, picture frames. Only an extreme/exceptional circumstance will cause it to tear/break. A set of 3 rather similar cards auctioned in 2007 at Christie's in New York also showed quite severe damage (see images nr 6-7). Those cabinet cards were taken off the ship by survivors, a family Johnson. Christie's selling price of $2,880 in 2007 for these incredibly scarce and historically fascinating significant artifacts is, by later standards, a total "bargain" (having been on the ship!; mentioning the ship's name!; depicting onboard passengers!; taken off the ship by survivors!); in the centenary year 2012 and still until today this certainly could or even would have been at least 10(!) to 20(!) times higher; indeed, at least some $30,000 to $60,000. This is also evident from artifact sales in the years since the 100th anniversary. ... more
$ 500 REWARD FOR ANY INFO LEADING TO IDENTIFYING WOMAN AND/OR GIRL
Early in 1988 a woman aged 30 named Ros(i)e bought the residence 17 Marine Crescent in Liverpool, England. Only a couple years later, early 1990s, researchers for the James Cameron movie "Titanic" (1997) came to her house. On that occasion she learned something very special: Edward John Smith, the later Titanic captain, had lived in this house from 1898 to 1907, along with his wife Sarah Eleanor Pennington, and her mother Sarah Pennington, and also the couple's newborn only child Helen Melville Smith. Furthermore a maid and a cook occupied the house, and there was a stable boy.
When Ros(i)e came to live in the house she found a series of antique objects dating from c1900, discovered mainly in the attic, and cherished these for some 25 years. In 2012 she wrote a little book (really more like a brochure) about the house and the Smith family: "The Captain, Titanic & Me" (YouCaxton Publications). At one point she had organized tours in and around the house, for tourists, also showcasing the found family belongings. Early 2014 she decided to part from these old objects, and started selling them off (see overview in last image). I managed to get hold of two very interesting pieces: a cigar box and a cigar holder from the later captain of Titanic!
E.J. Smith was born 27 January 1850 and had married Eleanor in 1887. Eleven years later their daughter "Mel" was born and that same year, 1898, they moved to 17 Marine Crescent, Liverpool, being close to the White Star Line docks. After having serviced more than a dozen WSL ships since 1880, from 1895 to 1904 Smith captained Majestic (Majestic 1). Then, 1904-1907, Baltic. In 1907 the WSL head office relocated to Southampton, and subsequently the family did too (however Smith's mother-in-law and also maid and cook continued to live in the Liverpool house). There, from 1907 to 1911 Smith was captain of Adriatic. In 1911 he captained Olympic, and in 1912 her sister ship Titanic. ... more
On board White Star Line vessels, menu cards were printed on a daily basis. Cards preprinted dark blue would then be imprinted black for ship name, date, and menu. This particular Third Class menu card, which would also serve as advertising postcard, was issued at sea on 26 May 1910. On the reverse, third and fourth line, it mentions the building of Olympic and Titanic. At that time, SS Celtic was the first of "The Big Four"; when launched, these were the largest steamships in the world: Celtic (1901), Cedric (1902), Baltic (1903), Adriatic (1907). From these four the later Titanic captain E.J. Smith had captained Baltic and Adriatic. Celtic was launched 1901 and, after a grounding incident, ultimately scrapped 1933-1934. This card would have been more interesting if written on and subsequently posted by a passenger sailing Celtic.
The Third Class menu card for Titanic looked virtually identical, see image nr 4, however with auction result $44,650 (incl. premium); that was at Bonhams, 1 May 2005. If I am correct, that still is the only Third Class menu card known to exist after the sinking disaster. A survivor named Sarah Roth had kept the Titanic menu in her handbag while she was secured by lifeboat "C". ☆
Exactly one week after the Titanic tragedy, cable ship (C.S.) Minia departed from Halifax for body recovery. After 4 days, on Friday 26 April 1912, thus 11 days since the sinking, she arrived at the scene as 2nd of in total 4 ships sent out for recovery. During a week of searching, Minia found only 17 human bodies. Furthermore, the ship recovered an array of floating wreckage from the debris field. William J. Parker, carpenter on Minia, transformed much of the wreck wood into ornate utilitary objects, such as boxes, tables, cabinets, chess boards, picture frames (one larger picture frame was gifted by Parker to Minia's first officer James Adams).
Traditionally it is believed that all or most of the salvaged hand carved wood originate (predominantly) from the First Class "aft" Grand Staircase, stretching from A- down to C-deck and located between the 3rd and 4th funnel. However, the area where the ship broke apart during the sinking was just before the 3rd funnel. This is a more recent insight, following the deep sea explorations; prior to that it was believed that the breaking occured between the 3rd and 4th funnel. So, in my view the wood debris could possibly just as well have originated from some other location(s) than the staircase. (There was also an almost identical looking First Class "fore" Grand Staircase, stretching even much further down to F-deck.)
Over time, many of the aforementioned crafted utilitary objects have been sold through auction and/or have ended up in museums. At one point, a number of rectangular carved wood sections measuring some 7.5 to 12.5 cm (3 to 5 inch) were auctioned by several international auctioneers, amongst which Guernsey's and Aldridge & Son. This particular specimen from my collection is such piece, however not really rectangular shaped as the others but seemingly a diagonally split leftover. The wood type should be either English oak or White oak. When looking very closely, the sandpaper's scratches from the finishing (smoothening) still show very distinctly. These hand carved wood pieces all display the same pattern of leaves and berries, and according to the auctioneers' descriptions these wood fragments were part of the "aft" Grand Staircase's (and balustrade's) handrail moulding.
However, both color, design, texture and thickness of these pieces clearly differ from the famous photo frame that was fashioned from Grand Staircase wood by William Parker. As such, and as suggested before, these rectangular wood pieces then should originate from another area of the ship, likely from closeby the "aft" Grand Staircase. (No photos of Titanic's "aft" and "fore" Grand Staircase are known to exist and as such any comparison with surviving artifacts is impossible.) This wood piece and all others were accompanied by a large quantity of color photo prints, historical document prints, and two letters of which one co-signed by Steve Santini of Titanic Concepts when purchasing the photo frame from James Adams' grandson Gerald T. Mullin on 31 July 1998. ☆
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On board Titanic a so called "deck light" or "bulkhead light" would illuminate decks, promenades and some other locations. Its design (construction) was probably not exclusive but generic; I have seen nearly identical fixtures on photos from other liner companies. Such light was utilized not only for walls but also ceilings. On Titanic it even was affixed to the stern, perhaps as a beacon, or if you will rear light, and/or for some purpose when docking. When used as a wall fixture the bulb inside and the third "leg" would point downwards, and at the top the power cable would enter through a thick pipe. In the 20th Century Fox movie "Titanic" (1997) the deck light on the stern was mistakenly attached upside down. Another film production mistake (read: shortcut) was the missing weather shield for the lights on decks and promenades. This shield on the fixture's side directing to the ship's bow was to prevent sea water from spraying into the fixture. Image nr 5 clearly shows such protective shield.
This deck light was developed for the aforementioned Hollywood blockbuster, which was written, directed, co-produced and co-edited by Canadian film director James Cameron. When comparing the deck light to the original, seen in photos of Olympic and Titanic, it becomes clear that the objective was not to create a realistic copy. The deviations are most obvious when comparing to the recovered artifact from the debris field (see last image); almost every detail is rather "off" from the original deck light. Still, this presumably should not have been a concern since the movie is in motion continuously and the deck lights relatively small and sometimes blurred in the background most of the time. Having said all that, it should have been a minor effort to shape the three "legs" more slender and the three "feet" much rounder, instead of somewhat plump as is now. ... more
[ Article text still to come.] ☆
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