Items belonging to American philanthropist ‘Molly’ Brown are among the collection to go up for auction just miles from Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast.
One-hundred-and-ten years on from the sinking of the Titanic, a number of items associated with the famous passenger liner are set to go under the hammer at Bloomfield Auctions in east Belfast, just a few miles away from the Harland & Wolff shipyard, where the ship was built and first launched.
Operated by White Star Line, the Titanic was one of the most luxurious ocean liners of its time but tragically struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage to New York and sank on 14th April 1912. More than 1,500 people lost their lives.
Margaret (Molly) Brown
The list of passengers traveling on the Titanic featured people from all over the world and from different walks of life, including Margaret (Molly) Brown, an American human-rights activist, philanthropist and actress, born to Irish parents, John and Johanna Tobin, in Hannibal, Missouri in 1867.
An advocate for women’s rights, labor rights, education and a voice for those less fortunate, Molly survived the sinking of the Titanic and went on to assist other survivors by establishing the Survivor’s Committee, raising almost $10,000 for those left destitute by the disaster.
Jewellery and Collectors’ Sale
The Titanic, White Star Line, Harland & Wolff, Jewellery and Collectors’ Sale, is due to take place later this month and will feature items owned by Molly and British lawyer, suffragette, political activist and former Titanic survivor, Elsie Bowerman, alongside a host of other interesting artifacts.
“The Titanic is a story that’s very close to our hearts, especially here in Belfast – the ship’s birthplace,” said Karl Bennett, Bloomfield Auctions’ Managing Director.
“We have some incredibly interesting items up for sale in this particular auction, but the star lot definitely has to be the items once owned by Molly Brown, which we’re sure will have a mammoth global interest as she was so well known. As part of the sale, Molly’s White Star Line embroidered deck chair blanket, which was in her possession when she was traveling on the Titanic, will be going under the hammer, as will an engraved trinket box that was given to Molly by her husband upon her safe return to New York. We also have a diamond-encrusted Legion of Honour medal that was awarded to Molly by the French for her charitable efforts during World War One.
“Accompanying these items are a host of documents relating to the famous actor, Erol Flynn which also make reference to Molly’s items.
“Molly truly led a fascinating life and was inspirational in all that she managed to achieve, especially for a woman during that time. We still continue to see remnants of her achievements even into the present day as the American youth justice system is based on the one she previously created in Colorado.
“Speaking of powerful women, we also have a postcard of Elsie Bowerman, who interestingly, was on the same lifeboat as Molly, as well as a chequered handkerchief and a deck of Patience playing cards that were owned by her.”
In addition, a launch stub, reputedly owned by a friend of former Harland & Wolff, Managing Director, Thomas Andrews, a cut-throat razor belonging to Titanic lookout, Alfred Evans and a discharge certificate for officer J Boxhall also make up the collection.
“The launch stub is something that would’ve been given to dignitaries,” explained Karl. “We believe that it was owned by a friend of Thomas Andrews and the stub has faded pencil markings on it.
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“Alfred Evans was one of the Titanic’s lookouts who was on duty on the night of the sinking. We have a razor that belonged to him with the inscription ‘Oceanic 1911.’ An identical razor, owned by another crewman was presented by surviving steward F Dent Ray to the Titanic Historical Society in Massachusetts.
“The sinking of the Titanic was one of the worst catastrophes in maritime history, but the heart-breaking tale resonates with so many people right across the globe.
“These items are remarkable pieces of history and would be ideal for a Titanic collector, a maritime collector or a museum. This auction will be a fantastic opportunity to own something from one of the most beautiful and famous ships ever built.”
The sale includes other notable nautical items including an original deck chair that was on the Lusitania, a passenger liner that was torpedoed by a German U Boat in 1915. The deck chair was recovered at sea after the sinking by John Williams, manager of Ensor’s Marine Salvage Company in Queenstown.
The auction catalog is now available to view at www.bloomfieldauctions.co.uk.The sale will take place on Tuesday 26th April both in-house and online.