John W. Gill Silver Half Dollar Titanic Victim

A 1906 US silver half dollar, recovered from the body of Titanic victim John W. Gill. Gill was a second-class passenger travelling to America to seek a new life and home for himself and his wife, who had remained in England. Perishing in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic, Gill’s body was the 155th body recovered by the Mackay-Bennett, eventually being buried at sea. Numerous objects were recovered from his body and catalogued before being returned to his widow, including this silver piece, all of which were included in the inventory list prepared by the provincial coroner of Nova Scotia. Sarah Gill was never able to bring herself to spend the money and retained it with his other effects including his pocket watch, keys, ring, and additional money and everything remained with the family for 90 years. All possessions recovered from Gill were sold in the April 2002 Henry Aldridge and Son Titanic 90th anniversary collection auction, and are accompanied by a catalog from that auction, as well as a photocopy of the catalog page from Aldridge and Son’s 100th anniversary auction, where this piece was offered singly.

Spending £13 for his ticket, Gill was supposed to be joined on the voyage by his wife and father-in-law to start a new life in America, but he travelled alone when Sarah and her father stayed behind to complete their business, while intending to join John later that year. Married for only two months when he died, his wife fell in to such a state of shock that she was unable to speak for over 20 years. A heart-wrenching relic of a young couple’s promising future shattered by the tragedy of April 15, 1912.

Bidding for the Titanic Auction opens Apr 17, 2014 & ends Apr 24, 2014

Titanic British Enquiry Plan and Section

An extraordinarily rare original cross-section and plan labeled “S. S. ‘Titanic,’” in the lower left corner and marked “No. 8” in the upper right corner, 30″ x 26″, drawn to a scale of 1/32 inches to one foot, and rubber stamped by Harland and Wolff, with a handwritten date within the stamp of May 1, 1912, just one day before the opening statements were given at the British enquiry, at which this plan was used. The plan consists of seven detailed drawings of the ship, with a bow to stern cross section at the top, followed by overhead views of the Boat Deck, Promenade Deck A, Poop Deck, Bridge Deck B, Forecastle Deck, and Shelter Deck. It has been initialed by a member of the Engineering Department.

Other recognizable features are the impressive staircases, the wheelhouse and captain’s quarters, the engine and turbine room, crew facilities, and several raised roofs over first-class areas. There are several hand-done annotations, including the relabeling of “Restaurant” to “Cafe Parisien,” and labels for the “3rd Cl. Promenade” and deck levels. Plans are mounted to an identical size board and are matted and framed to an overall size of 32″ x 28″. In very good to fine condition, with some scattered light creases and a few spots of scattered light toning and soiling. There is also a long tear through the representations of the lifeboats, previously repaired with a long piece of tape, which protected the area from the toning that the rest of the plan has undergone; the tape has since been professionally removed, leaving the section a brighter white than the remainder.

The most remarkable features of this plan are the two crucial hand-drawn elements that relate to both the engineering changes on the ship and the investigation subsequent to the sinking. First, there are extensions drawn over the watertight bulkheads at the bow up to D deck—this engineering change was made to allow the ship to stay afloat with up to four compartments flooded. The letters identifying each level of the deck are also hand-drawn, making it easier to observe the rising water levels as the ship sank in relation to the bulkhead door heights. Second, there is a hand-drawn gash in the side of the ship at Boiler #6, where the iceberg was hit. Approximately five compartments back from the bow—beyond the extended bulkheads—the location of the strike allowed water to enter the ship right at the point at which she could no longer stay afloat.

The official enquiry by the British Wreck Commissioner into the sinking of the Titanic was convened in London on May 2, 1912, and presided over by High Court Judge Lord Mersey. Spanning over two months, Mersey, lawyers, experts in shipbuilding and marine law questioned and listened to testimony from over 100 witnesses. Concluding on July 3, 1912, the final report was issued on July 30, stating that the sinking was the result of the ship’s collision with the iceberg, and not due to any design flaws with the ship, and that the collision had been brought about by excessive speed in icy waters. The report was widely well-received by the press, and stopped short of condemning White Star or Captain Smith for the accident. Along with the American hearings, the British enquiry would result in several safety changes including 24-hour manned radios, distress rockets, ice patrols, and sufficient lifeboats on board each ship. Items of this magnitude used in the official inquiry are virtually unobtainable, this being one of only two plans that have ever come to market.

This piece was discovered at the old Cunard Line office, which merged with White Star Line in 1934. Originally sold by Onslow’s in London, April 15, 1987, as part of Lot 22, the plan then went on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast. It was then offered at auction by Henry Aldridge & Son, at which time it became a part of a distinguished private collection. It has since been on display at the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri. RR Auction COA.

Bidding for the Titanic Auction opens Apr 17, 2014 & ends Apr 24, 2014

James Gandolfini The Sopranos Screen Worn Suit

Fabulous screen-worn suit, worn by Gandolfini in his role as Tony Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos. Suit consists of a dark blue single-breasted jacket, with a one-button closure, with one inside pocket bearing a Camelia’s Custom Clothier label, and the other pocket with a label which reads, “Custom styled for Tony Soprano”; matching pants with a printed Camelia’s label sewn into the waistband, with Gandolfini’s name printed on the second line and dated April 9, 2003; a long-sleeve Ike Behar dress shirt; and a taupe necktie with a light blue repeating pattern. This suit was worn in Episode 13 of Season 5 of the Sopranos episode entitled ‘All Due Respect,’ in which Tony is forced to kill his cousin Tony B and settle up with Johnny Sack. In fine condition, with several production tags pinned to the articles. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from The Golden Closet, bearing a printed signature of Gandolfini. RR Auction COA.

Mohandas Gandhi Uninscribed Gandhi Portrait done by Yuping Wong

Very scarce print by The Challenge Ltd., 7.75 x 10, of a head-and-shoulder pencil sketch of Gandhi done by Yuping Wong in 1931, boldly signed in black ink, “MK Gandhi,” and also bearing a pre-printed signature. Light overall foxing, otherwise fine condition. Gandhi is highly sought-after in any signed image. Provenance: Sotheby’s, 2000. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

Confederate Battle Flag 2nd South Carolina Infantry Regiment

This is a small, irregularly shaped piece of fabric that was neatly cut from a somewhat coarsely woven flag, consisting of a swatch of blue from one of the legs of the saltire, a single white five-pointed star, a section of white cloth tape edging, and a portion of the red field with the smudged remnants of the “…LL” of the stenciled Malvern Hill battle honor. The fragment is encased in a finely crafted modern frame that measures 28.5 x 20.5, and also houses a November 17, 1864, letter written by Colonel Horace G. Thomas, US Veterans Reserve Corps. Writing to the officers of the Eagle Hose Company of Buffalo, New York, (a volunteer fire company), Thomas presents the fragment, describing how he cut it from the flag while it was at the War Department under the care of the “officer who has charge of ‘Captured Rebel Flags’ and other trophies of the war.” Also housed in the frame is a carte-de-visite of George Maltby Love in the double-breasted frock coat of a Brigadier General and wearing his Medal of Honor. George Maltby Love was credited with the capture of the battle flag of the 2nd South Carolina at the battle at Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864, and was subsequently awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. Love was affiliated with the Eagle Hose Company and evidently Colonel Thomas (either on his own or at Love’s request) wanted to send a piece of the famous flag to Love’s friends as a memento. Attached to the rear of the frame is an 1899 letter from Pierce & Zahn of Denver, Colorado, to noted Civil War veteran and collector James W. Eldridge offering the fragment for sale and relating that the Eagle Hose Company had disbanded and presented the fragment to an “R. Le Bert” (or “Le Beuf”). Also included are a copy of a William H. Murray sale catalog in which this item was sold, and Eldridge’s original collection tag and calling card. This is the only known surviving fragment of the 2nd South Carolina battle flag and is a fabulous, well-documented Civil War rarity. RR Auction COA.

Titanic Piece of Deck Chair

A 2.25 x 1.75 x 1 section of deck chair, cut from the seat of a damaged Titanic deck chair recovered by the cable ship Minia during the recovery of the bodies of Titanic victims. Section has three drilled holes in a vertical line and a flat head screw into one side. In fine condition, with light corrosion to screw. Accompanied by a two-page letter of authenticity from renowned Titanic author, curator, and deck chair authority Steve Santini which reads, in part “This section of wood was removed/cut from the seat of a damaged Titanic deck chair recovered by the cable ship Minia…I was contacted by an antique picker from Maine who had…purchased two very damaged deck chairs which oral history reported had been recovered from the floating surface wreckage of the Titanic…The remains of both these chairs match in every detail the known examples of Titanic deck chairs and I am very familiar with such chairs…We were unable to repair either of the damaged chairs…and 2 leg sections which were given as a gift to noted director James Cameron…Due to the overall condition/appearance of the chair from which it originated, I am of the firm belief that this is in fact from a deck chair recovered by the Minia while that vessel was on her mission recovering the bodies of floating Titanic passengers in the North Atlantic following the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912.” Also accompanied by a copy of a 1999 letter from James Cameron sending thanks for the section of deck chair. RR Auction COA.

Bidding for the Titanic Auction opens Apr 17, 2014 & ends Apr 24, 2014

George A. Custer Stamper and Envelope

Large letterpress-style hand-held stamp with three lines of metal letters typeset on an 18 x 10 x 0.5 block of wood, reading: “US ARMY, 7TH CAVALRY, TRP H.” A 3″ tall solid brass spherical knob and two metal handles are attached to the reverse, as well as a label lightly written in pencil that reads: “U. S. Army, 7th Cavalry Tp. H, Fort Lincoln, D. T.” This belonged to Captain Frederick W. Benteen, and would have been used to stamp boxes, trunks, and other property belonging to his troop. Benteen was assigned to Custer’s 7th Cavalry Regiment in 1867, and commanded Troop H for the next 16 years. Most notably, he was in command of a battalion (Companies D, H, and K) of the 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25 and 26, 1876. Also includes a hand-addressed mailing envelope, 5 x 3, addressed by Custer to “Mrs. Genl. G. A. Custer, Monroe, Mich,” with the town struck through and changed in another hand to “Fort Lavenworth [sic] Kans.” Envelope also bears a pair of canceled three-cent George Washington postage stamps. Stamper is in very good condition, with general expected wear and soiling from age and use, and the envelope is in fine condition, with a few small stains and a torn right edge. A fantastic pairing of items, each scarce on its own. RR Auction COA.

Peter Max Original Artwork of Sailing at Sunset

Amazing and beautiful original artwork by Max, oil on paper, 10.75 x 11, entitled ‘Sailing at Sunset,’ depicting a small sailboat in front of a brilliant sunset, signed in the top right in oil paint, “Max.” Nicely framed to an overall size of 18.25 x 18.5. In very fine condition. A stunningly vibrant example of Max’s use of vivid colors and bold brushstrokes. Pre-certified PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

Titanic Rescue Loving Cup Awarded to Carpathia’s Captain Rostron by the ‘Unsinkable’ Molly Brown

Original sterling silver Loving Cup presented to Captain Arthur Rostron of the Carpathia by Titanic survivor Margaret Brown—later famously known as Molly Brown—in a ceremony on May 29, 1912. Dedication text engraved on the front of the cup reads: “Presented to Captain A. H. Rostron RD, RNR, Commander of the RMS Carpathia. In grateful recognition and appreciation of his heroic and efficient service in the rescue of the survivors of the Titanic on April 15th 1912, and of the generous and sympathetic treatment he accorded us on his ship. From the Survivors of the Titanic.” Cup measures 12.25″ tall and 7.75″ in diameter, with handles extending 2.5″ from either side and a 5.25″ diameter base; weight is 2.6 pounds. Whiting Manufacturing Company proof mark is impressed inside the base, with text that reads, “Sterling, 1387, 8 Pints,” below which is a three-pointed symbol that indicates a production date of 1912. Accompanied by the original ebony wooden base. In fine condition, with some scattered dings and tarnishing.

Brown, an American socialite, boarded the Titanic as a first class passenger at Cherbourg, France—the vessel’s first stop after leaving Southampton. Five days later, when the mammoth ship struck the iceberg, she unselfishly leapt into action and loaded others into the lifeboats, willing to face the chilling danger of the deep to save as many people as possible. She was eventually put into lifeboat six, where she helped to keep spirits up as they awaited an unknown fate. By this time, the Carpathia had received a distress signal cast out by Titanic telegraph operator Jack Phillips, and Captain Rostron immediately set his course in the direction of the wreck, posting extra lookouts to help navigate through the ice floes and ordering his engineers to maintain the highest speed possible—revving her up to 17.5 knots, 3.5 faster than the rated top speed. As his ship traversed the dangerous waters, Captain Rostron had the foresight to prepare for the scene ahead. Such measures included lowering the Carpathia’s lifeboats, preparing medical stations, and arranging for blankets and hot drinks to be ready for the survivors. Ultimately, Captain Rostron and his crew successfully rescued over 700 of the Titanic’s passengers.

Once aboard the Carpathia, Margaret Brown continued to assist her fellow passengers, nursing their wounds and comforting them with optimism—her fluency in English, French, German, and Russian enabled her to communicate with nearly all on board. Once everyone was stable, her philanthropic side kicked in and she established a committee to raise money for destitute survivors, collecting $10,000 from well-to-do passengers before the Carpathia even reached New York. Then, as a member of this ‘Survivor’s Committee,’ she arranged for a ceremony to recognize the heroic Carpathia crew, where she presented every crew member with a crimson-ribboned medal and Captain Rostron with the Loving Cup. This historic cup has remained in the Rostron family ever since that day—May 29, 1912—and has been on loan to the Merseyside Maritime Museum and Ulster Folk and Transport Museum since the 1980s. RR Auction COA.

Bidding for the Titanic Auction opens Apr 17, 2014 & ends Apr 24, 2014

Signed book The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge

Signed book: The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge. Limited edition, numbered 673/1000. NY: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1929. Hardcover, 6.25 x 9.5, 247 pages. Boldly signed on the colophon in black ink. Autographic condition: very fine. Book condition: VG+/None.


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