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HomeEntertainmentTitanic crew member’s weathered skeleton key sells for $131K at public sale

Titanic crew member’s weathered skeleton key sells for $131K at public sale

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A key used aboard the Titanic that was recovered within the aftermath of the ship’s sinking has offered at public sale for US$131,250, after being handed via 4 generations of a crew member’s household.

The weathered skeleton key with a brass plate inscribed with “PANTRYMAN” belonged to first-class saloon steward Alfred Arnold Deeble, and was discovered on his physique.


A key as soon as owned by 1st class saloon steward Alfred Arnold Deeble, who died within the Titanic sinking, has fetched $131,250 US at public sale.


Offered/RR Public sale

Boston-based RR Public sale offered the lot via on-line bidding that concluded this previous weekend.

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On April 14, 1912, RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank within the chilly Atlantic about 700 nautical miles from Nova Scotia, killing 1,497 of the two,209 passengers and crew on board.

Deeble’s physique was recovered by Halifax-based cable ship, the MacKay-Bennett, one among 337 our bodies plucked from the Atlantic after the tragedy.

He was buried at Fairview Garden Cemetery in Halifax, and a part of the public sale lot features a 2011 picture of his great-niece, Linda Jo McNulty Davis, visiting his gravesite.


The public sale lot consists of images from the Deeble household, and a photograph of his great-niece visiting his gravesite in Halifax in 2011.


Offered/RR Public sale

McNulty Davis’s grandmother, Lily Deeble, was instrumental in bringing the important thing dwelling to her household.

Not solely did she lose her brother Alfred within the sinking, however her fiancé John Herbert Strugnell — one other Titanic steward — additionally perished.

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“Any Titanic artifact with a well-documented lineage is of the utmost desirability. That this originates instantly from the household who witnessed twin tragedies within the deaths of saloon stewards Alfred Arnold Deeble and John Herbert Strugnell makes it all of the extra poignant,” mentioned Bobby Livingston, government vice-president with RR Public sale, in an announcement.

An specific package deal from Nova Scotia

Deeble, was born in Clerkenwell, London in 1877, had served within the Royal Navy and had a profession as a singer.

In 1912, he was employed by the White Star Line and was on Titanic’s maiden voyage.

Paperwork on the Nova Scotia Archives’ RMS Titanic Useful resource Information inform the story of Deeble’s key — and his sister Lily’s efforts to get it again.

On a bit of yellowed paper documenting his loss of life, Deeble was marked as physique no. 270. Initially, he’s unidentified and listed as carrying black pants, a white coat with buttons and a inexperienced raincoat.

His results embody a gold watch, a gold ring, and “one bunch keys.”


Alfred Deeble’s stays have been recorded as physique no. 270 and recovered by the MacKay-Bennett.


Nova Scotia Archives

In pencil, somebody later notes the keys say “Pantryman” and “Chief Storekeeper,” however Deeble’s identify seems to be misspelled as they attempt to determine him.

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Months later, a letter from White Star Line to Nova Scotia’s deputy provincial secretary, Frederick F. Mathers, on Oct. 4, 1912, asks for his belongings.

“Our Southampton Workplace has acquired a request from each the Board of Commerce and the sister of this member of the crew for the results discovered on the physique,” the message begins.

“They ask us if we are going to place the matter earlier than you, so we ask you to kindly give the case your consideration.”


The White Star Line wrote to Nova Scotia’s deputy provincial secretary to ask for Deeble’s results on behalf of his sister.


Nova Scotia Archives

On Oct. 8, 1912, Mathers wrote White Star Line again to say he had certainly despatched the gadgets, which he valued to be $30.

“The consequences on this case are of little worth, and I’m subsequently sending you right now by specific a package deal containing these results,” he wrote.

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From then on, the important thing remained within the household and was first handed down from Lily to her daughter, based on RR Public sale.

The public sale home referred to as the artifact “exceptional” and mentioned it now “transitions into a brand new chapter of its storied journey.”


Click to play video: 'Honouring a Titanic anniversary'


Honouring a Titanic anniversary


&copy 2023 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.



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