A MIRROR belonging to the captain of the ill-fated liner the Titanic is expected to fetch thousands when it goes up for auction in Lichfield this December.
Captain Edward John Smith, from Stoke-on-Trent, went down with his ship after the gigantic vessel was hit by an iceberg during its maiden voyage shortly before midnight on April 14 1912. The silver-framed easel mirror, which sat on Captain Smith’s dressing table at home, features in Richard Winterton Auctioneers' Fine & Decorative Arts Sale at The Lichfield Auction Centre on December 12th.
Included with the mirror is a small brown envelope containing a handwritten note explaining the item’s provenance.
After his death, Captain Smith’s housekeeper Ethelwynne was invited to choose any one item of his property as a keepsake and in lieu of wages.
The letter, which was penned by Ethelwynne’s sister-in-law Hilda, says that the housekeeper chose the silver mirror.
The note – addressed to someone called Ida – then chillingly adds: “She [Ethelwynne] always spooked me when she said that at times she could still see Captain Smith’s face in it on the anniversary of when the Titanic was sunk.”
Mr Winterton said: “The last time Captain Edward John Smith saw his own noble, bearded visage before leaving home to take the helm of the Titanic was possibly in this very mirror.
“Even with one’s feet firmly on land and in the sunshine of a clear afternoon, there is something otherworldly about seeing your own reflection in such an object.
“Captain Smith must have surveyed his own image in this mirror countless times and the legend that his face can still be seen in it on each anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking is as compelling as it is chilling!
“Whoever buys this in December will have it in good time to test that legend for themselves on the 107th anniversary next April.”
The Bargain Hunt and Dickinson’s Real Deal star added: “Interest in the Titanic is as strong as ever. This mirror could fetch well in excess of £10,000 at auction.”
More than 1,500 people were lost when the Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean, less than three hours after it was struck by the iceberg.
A statue of Smith was unveiled in Lichfield’s Beacon Park in July 1914 – the cathedral city was chosen as the location due to Lichfield’s status as the centre of Staffordshire’s diocese.
The plaque on the memorial statue commemorates Smith’s ‘great heart, a brave life and a heroic death’, adding in quotes “Be British” – a reference to Smith’s stiff upper-lip in the face of impossible adversity and what were widely believed to be – yet unsubstantiated as – his final words.
The mirror is one of many impressive lots in Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ Fine & Decorative Arts Sale on December 12th.
Dubbed “a sale in a generation”, the event at The Lichfield Auction Centre, Wood End Lane, Fradley Park, will feature a stunning collection of jewellery, gemstones, antique silver, pictures and furniture.
Viewing is on Saturday, December 8th from 9.30am-noon; Tuesday, December 11th from 10am-6pm and on the day of sale from 8.30am. The auction starts at noon.
Richard Winterton Auctioneers carries out free general valuations every Tuesday from 9.30am-4pm.
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