NEW YORK - In commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the R.M.S. Titanic's ill-fated voyage, Bonhams will be offering a wide variety of rare Titanic memorabilia for its April 15 auction. Gregg Dietrich, Bonhams Maritime consultant, states, "The interest in the Titanic far surpasses the sinking or wreck of any other ship, making it an historical 'bookmark.' This finely curated auction is completely dedicated to the finest and rarest Titanica that has come to market recently."
An extremely rare original launch ticket with its perforated admission stub still intact will be a large draw for collectors (pre-sale estimate $50,000-70,000). This is the only complete Titanic launch ticket known to exist and would have allowed admittance to the launching and christening of this historic vessel. In an unusual step away from tradition, White Star Line and Harland & Wolff did not christen R.M.S Titanic, and many believe this was the beginning of the end for the supposedly unsinkable ship.
Another star lot is an account of the R.M.S. Carpathia's rescue account of the Titanic survivors, written by the Carpathia's heroic Captain Arthur Henry Rostron (pre-sale est. $90,000-120,000). This hand-written two-page report was written on durable waterproof paper and signed by the Captain. He describes his decision to turn the Carpathia around to aid the Titanic with a decisive clarity: "At 12:35 am ship's time, April 15... 1912, I was called by the 1st officer in company with Marconi operator... informed that the White Star Liner 'Titanic' was sending out urgent distress signals by wireless that she had struck ice & required immediate assistance... I immediately ordered Carpathia turned round... also sent wireless to Titanic saying we were coming to his assistance." His extraordinary description brings to life the horrifying circumstances he was faced with as well as his admirable leadership and bravery.
Another moving and inspirational highlight from this sale is an archive of letters and post cards from 20 Titanic survivors that all come from the Andrew J. Cannata Collection (pre-sale est. $30,000-50,000). In 1969, Mr. Cannata chose to write his high school research paper on the Titanic and personally sent out letters to many of its living survivors. He received twenty responses, all of which are included in this fascinating lot.
Other highlights include a letter from Edward, Prince of Wales, mentioning the Titanic disaster (pre-sale est. $20,000-30,000) and a group of 3 framed Marconi messages documenting the arrival of the R.M.S. Carpathia and that "TITANIC HAS SUNK," each dated 15 APR 1912 (pre-sale est. $20,000-30,000).
For movie buffs, there are several lots from the original 1953 Titanic film as well as James Cameron's 1997 epic romance. From the 1953 film, there is a set of six colourful lobby cards (pre-sale est. $500-700) and the film ship's bronze bell used to sound the first alarm, marked "R.M.S. Titanic/1912" (pre-sale est. $10,000-15,000). From the 1997 film, which is being re-released a week prior to the sale, is a screenplay signed by the principal actors (pre-sale est. $700-1000), a group of four stained glass windows from the Smoking Room (pre-sale est. $7,000-10,000) and a reproduction of the "Heart of the Ocean" (pre-sale est. $400-600).
The Bonhams London headquarters will be selling several significant pieces of memorabilia related to RMS Carpathia, the ship that came to the Titanic's rescue. The items will be sold in The Marine Sale, which takes place on April 3.
To preview the full R.M.S. Titanic: 100 Years of Fact & Fiction auction please visit the New York Bonhams galleries at 580 Madison between April 10-15. The complete auction catalogue can be found on www.bonhams.com.
Julie Saunders Guinta
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com