Pistol used to steal coal for RMS Titanic appears for sale

Sometimes it's the 'stories behind the stories' which provide the most interesting items of memorabilia...

Such is the case with the story of the RMS Titanic which, after striking an iceberg four days into its voyage on April 14, 1912, remains one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

Most people are familiar the story - famously retold in director James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster film starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.

However, less people are perhaps aware of an amazing tale which precedes the Titanic's doomed maiden voyage from Southampton, England in 1912...

George Bull's pistol, used to steal fuel during the coal strike

Britain was then in the grip of a national coal strike, and the Titanic's owners White Star Liner feared that there wouldn't be enough fuel to power the mammoth ship.

To deal with the situation, George Frederick Bull, a bursar for the company, travelled with his colleague, R McPherson, to Wallasey in Merseyside.

There, they stole coal from the striking miners at gun-point.

Today, almost a century later, the 104-year-old pistol which played such a crucial role in the launching the Titanic has appeared for sale on the collectors' markets.

The gun is being sold by Antiques Storehouse of Portsmouth, UK, priced £200,000.

It will be sold in an original flare box from the Titanic (pictured above) and has Bull's initials engraved on its handle.

The RMS Titanic sets sail, powered with the stolen fuel

While the gun is easily one of the most interesting memorabilia items to be linked to the disaster, it certainly won't be the first Titanic collectible to attract a large sum on the private market.

Previous sales have included the Titanic's Crow's Nest Key, sold with a postcard written onboard by the ship's First Second Officer, David Blair, on April 4 1912.

The key sold for £90,000, auctioned by Henry Aldridge & Sons last year.

Elsewhere in the same sale, a pocket watch, a key, a penknife and other paraphernalia from the ship - all from the Edmund Stone Collection - sold for £245,000.

And with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking approaching, such items are likely to become more treasured and valuable as collectors clamour to preserve the disaster's memory and legacy.

Meanwhile, in other Kate Winslet-related news, collectors can find a particularly unusual piece of a star's memorabilia for sale on the market: a striking portrait of her by artist Josie McCoy.

McCoy's paintings portray television and film characters, deliberately placing them in a new context. The work is currently for sale, and you can find more information here.


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