A storied silver brandy flask that survived the Titanic disaster is up for auction in the U.K. this weekend.
The ornate flask was in the possession of First Class passenger Helen Churchill Candee when Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. ship’s time on April 14, 1912. The liner sank just over two hours later with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.
A journalist, author and champion of women’s rights, Candee is thought by some to have been one of the inspirations for the famous character of Rose in the Hollywood movie “Titanic.”
Before the ship sank, Candee handed the flask to her friend and fellow First Class passenger Edward Kent, believing that he was more likely to survive. Kent made no attempt to jump into the sea as Titanic went down, according to Encyclopedia Titanica, and was engulfed by the icy waters.
Kent’s body was later recovered by the crew of the cable laying ship CS Mackay Bennett and the damaged flask was among the items sent to his wife.
Candee fractured her ankle jumping into a lifeboat but survived the disaster. She later received the flask in a package of items sent from Kent’s sister, Charlotte.
“The flask is badly out of shape”, Charlotte explained, in a letter wrote on mourning stationery.
The family heirloom is engraved with the Churchill family crest and the legend “Faithful but Unfortunate.”
“It is an incredibly powerful and poignant piece,” auctioneer Andrew Aldridge told Fox News, via email. “The damage on it illustrates graphically the horrendous pressure involved when the ship sunk and certainly points to it being submerged at a fairly significant depth.”
After the disaster, Candee continued her work as an author and journalist, writing for the likes of National Geographic, as well as campaigning for women’s suffrage. In March 1913 she rode a horse in the “Votes for Women” parade in Washington D.C.
Candee also worked as a Red Cross nurse in Italy during World War I, where one of her patients was reportedly an injured Ernest Hemingway. She also traveled extensively in Asia, writing about her experiences in Cambodia in her successful book “Angkor the Magnificent.”
She died in 1949, at age 90.
The lot, which includes the letter and a photograph of Candee with pencil notation on the reverse, has a pre-sale estimate of $77,419 to $103,226. The auction at auction house Henry Aldridge and Son takes place on April 27.
Another Titanic item in the auction is a letter written by one of the ship’s crew to his wife just days before the liner sank.
Titanic steward Richard Geddes wrote the letter to his wife, Sarah (Sal), the day after the famous ship left the port of Southampton, U.K., on April 10, 1912. The letter describes a near collision with another ship, the SS City of New York. Geddes perished in the disaster.
More than 100 years after the Titanic’s sinking, the disaster continues to be a source of fascination.
In 2017, a sea-stained letter recovered from the body of a Titanic victim was sold at auction for $166,000. In 2016, the sextant used by the captain of rescue ship Carpathia sold for just under $97,000.
A cup presented to the captain by Titanic survivor Molly Brown to the Carpathia captain sold for $200,000 in 2015.
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