Titanic’s most wanted objects by collectors
More than 100 years after the tragic sinking, the legend of the Titanic still fascinates us. Historians, businessmen, oceanographers and treasure hunters have been exploring for decades the innermost depths of the ocean in search of the wreck’s remains.
In 1985, the oceanographer Robert Ballard found the ocean liner at a depth of 4 km, about 800 km from the Canadian coastline, although it was two years later when the first underwater excavation was carried out to recover many of the lost objects.
Today we are going to show you some of those high-value pieces, which were awarded at different auctions and, therefore, the most popular among the world’s great collectors.
1. Diamonds bracelets
Many of you might remember the beautiful “Heart of the Ocean” necklace that Rose wore in the film Titanic. Obviously, and far from reality, that pendant is completely fiction; however, it is true that, in one of those explorations, it was found a similar pendant: it had a small blue stone, and it belonged to a young passenger aged 19, Kate Phillips, and it probably was the one that inspired the love story by James Cameron.
There have been found many jewels throughout all these years; and it makes sense, since most of the people who boarded were rich and famous.
Among the jewels found, we must mention the recovery of a small collection of gold bracelets with diamonds inlays, one of them engraved with the name “Amy”, which was sold for €1.7 million.
2. Wallace Hartley’s violin
The violin used by the conductor of the Titanic’s orchestra, Wallace Hartley, to calm down the passengers who boarded the lifeboats while the huge ship was sinking, was also one of the most valued pieces in 2013, when it was sold for €1.5 million.
Made in Germany, it was found in a leather case tied to Wallace’s body after he died, together with the other musicians, during the sinking.
The precious violin, which has a small inscription on the top, reveals that it was a gift from his wife, Maria Robinson, on the occasion of their engagement ceremony. It seems that the conductor never wanted to separate himself from the present that his beloved had given him in 1910, perhaps as a taste of love for a wedding that never happened.
3. Naval plan
After the sinking of the Titanic, many researches were carried out in order to find out the causes of the tragedy. In 1912, White Star’s British Department of Naval Architecture drew several plans of the ship, and indeed one of them has become one of the most important memorabilia articles.
Signed on 1 May 1912 and stamped by Harland and Wolff shipyard, witnesses used it to identify the different locations on the ship. In it, we can see some notes, including a mark on the boiler number 6, where the iceberg hit, and another on the different chambers that were not hermetic enough to prevent the construction they had described as “unsinkable” ended at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
This is a technical drawing measuring more than 9 meters long, which was awarded for about €308,000.
4. Fur coat
There were many jewels, but only one garment was recovered from the shipwreck. It is a long beaver fur coat that belonged to Mabel Bennett, a stewardess who worked in the ocean liner’s first-class section.
Mabel, who died at the age of 96, gave the coat to her niece, along with a letter in which she said that during the rescue “was wearing a nightdress and this was the first garment I took to wrap myself while waiting for the arrival of a lifeboat”.
Despite its age, when the coat was auctioned it was completely intact, so it was sold for €215,390.
5. Pocket watch
If there was a really significant piece among the first findings in the Titanic, that was a gold pocket watch that belonged to Edmund Stone, a waiter in the ship.
The clock strikes 2:16, probably the exact moment when Edmund fell into the Atlantic’s icy waters. However, this was not the only possession that was handed back to his family; there were also a set of keys for the first-class cabins E1 – E42, in which he was a waiter; a receipt for a butler; a pencil and a letter to his wife.
In 2008, the family decided to sell all these possessions. They raised a total amount of €267,000, of which €130,000 were spent on the pocket watch.