Titanic artifact surfaces: Gold cigarette case ‘with a hint of scandal’ up for auction


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A storied gold cigarette case that when belonged to a controversial rich couple that survived the Titanic catastrophe is up for public sale.

The extraordinarily uncommon artifact, which belonged to Sir Cosmo and Girl Duff-Gordon, comes “with a touch of scandal,” in keeping with Hansons Auctioneers. The Duff-Gordons have been accused of bribing their method off the doomed liner, though the allegation was by no means confirmed.

Titanic hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. ship’s time on April 14, 1912, and sank simply over two hours later with the lack of greater than 1,500 lives.


“This cigarette case in its personal proper is a superb object however its provenance sends its significance hovering to titanic heights,” mentioned Charles Hanson, proprietor of Hansons Auctioneers, in a press release. “The sinking of the Titanic has fascinated the world for greater than 100 years and such was the Duff-Gordons’ impression on occasions their roles are performed in 1997 film ‘Titanic’.”


The gold cigarette case that when belonged to Sir Cosmo and Girl Duff-Gordon (Hansons Auctioneers)

A distinguished landowner and extremely completed fencer, Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, his clothier spouse, and her secretary, have been amongst 12 individuals who escaped the sinking ship on Titanic’s Lifeboat No 1. The lifeboat, which was dubbed the “millionaires’ boat,” by the British press, had a capability of 40 folks. Along with the Duff-Gordons and Girl Duff-Gordon’s secretary, two different First Class passengers have been aboard Lifeboat No 1. The remaining seven folks on the lifeboat have been members of Titanic’s crew.

“Because the Titanic sank, it was claimed Lucy Duff-Gordon mentioned to her secretary, ‘There’s your stunning nightdress gone’,” Hanson mentioned. “A fireman, allegedly irritated by her remark, replied that whereas the couple might change their property, he and the opposite crew members had misplaced all the things. Sir Cosmo then provided every of the lads £5 (equal to £454 [$579]) to assist them.”


The rich landowner saved his promise once they reached the rescue ship RMS Carpathia, in keeping with Encyclopedia Titanica.

“Within the aftermath of the tragedy, the couple have been accused of shopping for their method off the boat, a narrative infected by the tabloid press. However at a British Board of Commerce inquiry into the catastrophe, the place the couple testified, Sir Cosmo was adamant he’d given the cash as a gesture of goodwill to assist the lads. Nevertheless, mud sticks and so they have been tainted by the incident for the remainder of their lives,” Hanson added.

On board the Carpathia, the Duff-Gordons have been helped by the ship’s purser Ernest Brown, who was later awarded a medal for his essential function within the Titanic rescue operation.


In appreciation of Brown’s kindness towards them, the Duff-Gordons gave him the Asprey gold cigarette case. The case is inscribed with the message: “Ernest G F Brown RNR, in remembrance of kindness. SS Carpathia. From Sir Cosmo and Girl Duff-Gordon.” On the entrance, options the initials “EB.”

The cigarette case, which can be bought at Hanson’s on Sept. 28, has a pre-sale estimate of $51,073 to $76,609.

In 2016, the sextant utilized by Carpathia’s captain bought for just below $97,000. Three images and a handwritten be aware detailing the grisly discovery of Titanic’s final lifeboat have been bought for $6,800.

Observe James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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