RMS Titanic rare collectibles: five of our favourites to have auctioned

It remains one of the most famous disasters ever known. So much so that some collectors even specialise in it. RMS Titanic memorabilia could be a collectibles niche all of its own.

Now auctioneer Guernsey's of New York is set to sell more than 5,500 items worth an estimated $189m on April 1. Collectors' fascination with the famous Titanic passenger liner, which stuck an iceberg on its maiden voyage on 1912, is today stronger than ever.

In the run-up to Guernsey's sale, here we pick some of our favourite RMS Titanic collectibles to have emerged on the collectors' markets in recent times...


Carpathia medal awarded after RMS Titanic rescue
A bronze medal awarded to an RMS Carpathia crewman - sold for £6,600

Medal awarded to the Titanic's rescuer, RMS Carpathia, sells for £6,000

RMS Carpathia came to the rescue of 705 passengers during the Titanic's sinking, taking them to safety in New York. Carpathia was the first rescue ship to arrive at the disaster.

All of her crew were decorated - and one of these medals later appeared for sale at Bonhams' Marine Sale in London on September 28, 2010.

In the end, the rare medal comfortably exceeded its £2,000-4,000 pre-sale estimate. Bonhams' auction realised a total of £555,000 overall.


Captain Smith's cigar box from RMS Titanic
Captain Smith's cigar box made $40,000

Titanic captain's $40,000 cigar box beats estimate in Liverpool

Nobody knows how this cigar box made it back to the United Kingdom... But that didn't stop the box, which once belonged to the captain of the Titanic, selling for £25,000 ($40,000) in Liverpool, UK.

A mark of the White Star Line shipping company and the initials of Captain Edward John Smith supported the walnut box's provenance. Its features include a cigar cutter and locking mechanism.

In the end, the cigar box easily surpassed its £20,000 high-end estimate at Cato Crane Auctioneers. Yet the box's provenance since Captain Smith, who went down with his ship as it sank, owned it are somewhat of a mystery.

Third Class Menu from the Titanic sells for $44,650

The most coveted RMS Titanic collectibles are those which sank with the ship. That said, collectors are also fascinated by the shipboard memorabilia pieces whose qualities haven't been effected by years underwater.

Fascinating pieces include this menu for third class passengers on board the ship.

It survived in the handbag of Sarah Roth, a Third Class Passenger. Roth was rescued by the Carpathia in lifeboat C. This rare third class menu later sold for $44,650.

Titanic's Crow's Nest key - which could have helped save the ship - sells for £90,000

These binoculars might have made all the difference. With them, Titanic's crew may have spotted the iceberg into which she crashed in 1912.

Unfortunately, the binoculars were locked in the ship's Crow's Nest. The key for the Crow's Nest was later auctioned in 2007, and was not on the ship when it sailed from Southampton.

Instead, it was in the pocket of an officer who was transferred off the ship just days before its maiden voyage. He forgot to return the keys to their rightful place.

These keys weren't even on the Titanic during its famous disaster. Yet it's incredible how much allure a great story can have for auction bidders. In the end, this key brought £90,000 at an auction by Henry Aldridge in Wilshire, UK.


RMS Titanic Snyder letter
Letter headed for disaster: John Snyder's note from aboard RMS Titanic

Titanic letter-led collection brings $100,570 at Philip Weiss Auctions

Philip Weiss's auction back in May featured a collection starring this letter on Titanic stationary, dated April 10, 1912, the day the ship sailed. The note was sent by passenger John Snyder while returning from honeymoon with his wife.

It sold with photographs of the Snyders and an even more remarkable letter dated April 18, four days after the boat sank. "Here we are again both safe and sound" wrote Snyder to his father. "I can only tell you that I have a mighty fine wife and she is the one you must thank - besides our Lord."

"We were both asleep when the boat hit ... When we reached the top deck only a few people were about and we all were told to go down & put on our life belts..."

Philip Weiss's collection was expected to bring $50,000-75,000, but in the end sold for $100,570.

And, as Philip told us in his exclusive interview with Paul Fraser Collectibles last week, his firm has another impressive Titanic sale lined up.

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