Medal for a saviour of the Titanic goes under the hammer at Bonhams

Tomorrow, Bonhams is holding a Travel and Exploration sale at which they're offering an exceptionally rare signed scrimshawed whale's tooth from Charles Darwin's voyage on HMS Beagle.

Not prepared to leave it at that, however, the auctioneer is preparing to offer of the largest scrimshaw collections in recent years at their Marine Sale at the end of the month, including a massive English scrimshaw whale's tooth (estimated at £8,000-12,000).

The sale also includes a hand-drawn invasion landing plan for the British forces at the beginning of the Crimean war (expected to achieve £300-500 - but surely it's worth more than this), and a more sentimental collectible: a rare love token folding comb (listed at £4,000-6,000).

However, the pieces which will be of most interest to many will be the Titanic memorabilia.

One of the bronze medals presented to the crew of RMS Carpathia, following their heroic rescue of 705 survivors of the stricken Titanic on April 15 1912 is going under the hammer. The Carpathia was the first ship to reach the survivor's lifeboats, having received an emergency transmission from the Titanic when it hit an iceberg at 11.40pm on April 14 1912.

Diverted from her passage, RMS Carpathia came to the rescue of 705 passengers and took them to safety in New York.

On arrival, the Officers and Crew were presented with medals by one of the saved First Class passengers, Margaret (Molly) Brown, to commemorate the rescue: Captain Rostron received a Gold medal and silver cup, the Officers received silver medals, and the Crew received bronze.

The medal is inscribed: "Presented to the Captain Officers and Crew of RMS Carpathia in recognition of gallant and heroic service From the Survivors of the SS Titanic April 15th 1912." and is estimated at £2,000-4,000.

RMS Carpathia bronze medal in original box
The RMS Carpathia bronze medal in its original box
(Click to enlarge)

Another Titanic-related lot is a Mariner's Certificate of Discharge book, which charts the nautical career of James Easson between 1887 and 1912.

The book, which includes the signature of Captain Edward Smith of RMS Baltic, shows Easson's rise from a scullion on the Baltic to a cook on RMS Carpathia. It has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £1,000-1,500.

As we've noted previously, Titanic memorabilia is an area of collectibles which many people specialise in more or less exclusively, with the pieces involved becoming very value and solid investment choices.

For example, a menu of the meals for third class passengers on board the doomed ship survived in the handbag of Sarah Roth, a Third Class Passenger. She was rescued by the Carpathia in lifeboat C, and the menu brought $44,650 in a previous Bonhams sale.

The Marine Sale takes place on September 28 in London.


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