And yet another RMS Titanic item, a gold cigarette case (with a delicious hint of scandal attached), is up for bid at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire, England, on Sept. 28, according to the Hansons’ blog (bit.ly/CigCase).
Sir Cosmo and Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon managed to escape into Lifeboat No. 1 as the Titanic was foundering that icy night in April 1912. Designed to hold 40, only 12 were in the boat, including seven crew members. As the ship sank, Lady Lucy was overheard rather tactlessly saying to her secretary, “There is your beautiful nightdress, gone.”
One of the crewmen took offense, and remarked that while the couple could easily replace any lost property, the crew members were wiped out. In response, Sir Cosmo offered them £5 each (£560 or $723 now) each. Consequently, since no good deed goes unpunished, he was later accused of bribing his way off the Titanic. During an inquiry he insisted it was just a goodwill gesture to the crewmen, but his reputation was permanently tainted.
When the RMS Carpathia eventually rescued the couple, the ship’s purser, Ernest Brown, was kind to them. In return, they gave him a gift — an Aspey gold cigarette case inscribed with the words: “Ernest G F Brown RNR, in remembrance of kindness. SS Carpathia. From Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon.” It is pictured, courtesy of Hansons Auctioneers.
Interested? Start counting your pennies; the item is expected to fetch up to £60,000 (about $77,500).