April 20, 2015

Struth! Shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that a deck chair from the Titanic that sank 105 years ago has just sold at auction in England for the equivalent of more than AU$191,000 – but the new owner will never get to sit on it.

The Nantucket-style wooden recliner came from the First Class deck of the ill-fated liner that went down after hitting an ice-berg just five days after sailing from Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York in April 1912. Fifteen hundred passengers and crew died, and 700 were rescued.

A crew member of the search ship Mackay-Bennett that was sent to look for bodies, retrieved the floating mahogany deckchair with a half dozen others, and for some reason later gave it to the captain of a French cable-laying ship in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

English auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said the French captain subsequently sold the chair, whose history has been meticulously recorded and authenticated, and although the new owner – a UK collector of iconic pieces of history – paid all that money he'll only be able to admire and never sit on his purchase.

"It's one of the rarest of Titanic collectibles with only seven known to exist," Mr Aldridge said. "And while it's been carefully restored and looked after, it has some seat damage and is simply too delicate to sit on."


[] NEW meaning to shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic: this First Class passengers' deck chair was one of seven found floating after the liner sank in April 1912, and has just been sold at auction in England for the equivalent of over AU$191,000. (Henry Aldridge & Sons Auctioneers)

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