AN EXTREMELY rare deckchair that sat on the first class promenade of the Titanic when it sank in 1912 is expected sell for up to £80,000 when it is sold at auction.
The Nantucket wood chair was found bobbing on the surface of the Atlantic by the crew of the Mackay-Bennett, who were sent to recover the bodies of the victims after the tragedy. The ship’s log records six or seven deckchairs being picked up and taken back to port in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
One was given by a crew member to Captain Julien Lemarteleur, who had previously worked on board the Mackay-Bennett.
It has since been owned for 15 years by an English Titanic collector who kept it by a large window overlooking the sea at his home on the south coast. It bears a star, referring to the White Star Line, the company which owned the doomed vessel.
Its owner has never sat on it due to its fragile state and instead used it as a display item.
The deckchair will be sold at Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire on April 18.
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge described the item as “one the rarest types of Titanic collectable”.
“The probability is that this Titanic deck chair was given to Captain Lemarteleur by a crew member of the Mackay-Bennett, along with the piece of cork from a Titanic lifejacket,” Mr Aldridge said.
“The crew of the Minia, another of the body recovery ships, similarly gave a Titanic deck chair they rescued to Rev Henry Cunningham in appreciation for his work onboard their vessel.
“Due to its fragile condition the chair was professionally but sympathetically conserved several years ago, it is estimated at £70,000 to £80,000.”
Craig Sopin, one of the world’s leading collectors of Titanic memorabilia, said: “It isn’t often that one has the opportunity to acquire such an important part of Titanic’s story.
“For such a significant item to have such a meticulous chain of custody is nothing short of astonishing, its history can be traced from the auction house back to the deck of Titanic itself.”
Around 1,500 people died when the Titanic sank after striking an iceberg on April 14 1912 during its maiden voyage.