Titanic brandy flask sold at auction for £76,000
Date : 28.4.2019
A silver brandy flask given to a first-class passenger shortly before he drowned on the Titanic has sold for £76,000 at auction. Helen Churchill Candee handed the item, engraved with her family´s motto "Faithful but Unfortunate", to Edward Kent as the ship was sinking. She told her friend:
- "You stand a better chance of living than I."
Mrs Churchill Candee survived but Mr Kent died along with more than 1,500 people in the disaster. The flask was found when his body was recovered.
RMS Titanic had been four days into a week-long trans-Atlantic crossing Southampton to New York when the supposedly "unsinkable" ship struck an iceberg on 14 April 1912. The liner sank less than three hours later at about 02:20 on 15 April.
The "badly out of shape" flask, sold at Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, was described as "one of the most powerful and emotive three-dimensional objects the Titanic ever offered for auction". It had been returned to the Churchill Candee family by a relative of Mr Kent´s along with a letter of explanation.
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge, who estimated it would fetch between £60,000 and £80,000, said the flask was an "incredibly powerful and poignant piece".
Bids for the Cook Waistcoat rose to A$575,000
Captain James Cook is well remembered as a famous explorer. In 1770, Cook seized Australia in the name of Britain, and nine years later, he was stabbed to death in Hawaii during a skirmish with locals.
One of his waistcoats survived. Originally, it was in the possession of his family, but it passed to an antiques dealer who sold it in 1912. The buyer, a British industrialist, gifted it to the famous Australian pianist, Ruby Rich.
She altered the beautifully embroidered waistcoat to suit a woman’s body and wore it to social functions. A private collector purchased the garment the Rich family in 1981 and, in 2017, put it up for auction.
Considered to be one of the most significant Cook pieces, the 250-year-old waistcoat was valued between A$800,000 and A$1.1 million. During the auction, which was held in Sydney, bids rose to what some might consider a handsome amount—A$575,000. However, this was too little considering the waistcoat’s worth and the sale fell through.
Source: JANA LOUISE SMIT OCTOBER 12, 2017 - http://listverse.com/2017/10/12/top-10-historical-items-that-surprisingly-failed-at-auction/
Disputed Manuscripts of Ludwig van Beethoven
When a lot underperforms, the reason is not always lack of interest or a purse too small. Sometimes, it is a public spat between the experts and an auction house. In 2016, Sotheby’s held a score by composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827). It was expected to garner around £200,000.
Unfortunately, Sotheby’s crossed swords with a Beethoven scholar on a radio program. Professor Barry Cooper insisted that Allegretto in B minor was the work of an inept copyist and not penned by the hand of Beethoven, as claimed by Sotheby’s.
The single page is signed “composed and written by Beethoven himself November 29 1817 at Vienna.” However, the phrase was not written by the composer but by an English vicar whose descendants kept the artifact.
Sotheby’s said that specialists verified the document and that Cooper refused to view it in person. Cooper, who has 40 years of experience working with Beethoven manuscripts, studied a photocopy. He pointed out mistakes that Beethoven would never have made.
Also, while Sotheby’s experts remained unnamed, Cooper named scholars who believed him. One, a respected Beethoven expert named Jonathan Del Mar, viewed the score up close and was unconvinced of its authenticity. The strife between the auction house and Cooper was cited as the main reason when the sheet’s auction was a dismal failure.
A four-page correspondence with Darwin’s niece fetched $59,142, and somebody shelled out $197,000 to own a letter in which Darwin penned his doubts about the Bible.
When Nate D. Sanders Auctions made another document available, they expected a sale. Put up for auction in 2016, a year after the record-smashing Bible letter, the new one had promise. It was rare, handwritten, and signed by Darwin on December 12, 1860.
British author and biologist George Wallich had sent the naturalist his book about deep-sea life. The letter was written to thank Wallich, but it was not merely a polite response. Darwin was greatly affected by Wallich’s research and grilled him for information about starfish, basaltic pebbles, and foraminifera (single-celled creatures with shells).
The letter also mentioned that Darwin planned to publish a corrected version of his book, , which had been released a year earlier. The words show Darwin at his best—a passionate researcher fascinated by the devil in the details.