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Items from Titanic rescue ship sunk off Ireland fetch huge sums at US auction


The binoculars

The binoculars

The binoculars

INDIVIDUAL lumps of coal, a Pepsi bottle and a chamber pot from a famous shipwreck off the coast of Ireland were some of the many items that sold for hefty sums at an auction in the United States.

History buffs paid up to $600 (€493) for single lumps of coal that were salvaged from the RMS Carpathia.

The vessel was used in the rescue of 712 survivors from the RMS Titanic sinking in 1912.

The RMS Carpathia was sunk just outside Irish territorial waters during the First World War.

She was torpedoed in 1918 by a German submarine, with five deaths. The survivors in lifeboats were picked up by HMS Snowdrop and landed at Cobh, then Queenstown.

An intact bottle of Pepsi-Cola, retrieved from the wreck by a team led by the late author and oceanographer Clive Cussler, fetched $2,000 (€1,645) in the online auction by Ahlers & Ogletree of Atlanta, Georgia.

The Carpathia, which belonged to the Cunard Line, made her maiden voyage in May 1903 and was sunk on July 15, 1918.

Operating on the New York and Mediterranean route, she sheltered from a fierce storm in Queenstown harbour in January 1913 after her heroic role in rescuing the Titanic survivors nine months previously.

A pair of marine binoculars sold for a bargain $1,600 (€1,300) at the beginning of the auction, while free-standing telegraphs from the bridge, although heavily corroded, sold for $12,000 (€9,900) and $7,000 (€5,758) respectively.

A damaged first class chamber pot, made jagged by the sinking, sold for $2,250 (€1,851), while sets of coat hooks from a cabin sold for $2,750 and $3,250 as maritime aficionados clamoured for a piece of the most famous rescue vessel since Noah’s Ark.


The Pepsi bottle from the Carpathia

The Pepsi bottle from the Carpathia

The Pepsi bottle from the Carpathia

A silver serving platter, with holes from corrosion, sold for $1,700 (€1,400) while one Irish bidder from Westmeath was lucky to secure a soap dish from a cabin for $650 (€535) as the generally frenetic bidding hit a rare trough.

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Fragments of linoleum tiles from her interiors sold for up to $910 (€740), with all of the prices here being from the final hammer, without the addition of up to 30pc buyer’s premium and fees.

A porthole with fragments of wood still attached sold for $13,000 (€10,695), and a second for $7,000 (€5,758).

A hurricane lamp from the open deck sold for $12,000 (€9,872). Even a door hinge sold for $450 (€370), while a mangled light switch hit $2,500 (€2,056).

Ironically, a metal washing-up draining grill, rusted by nearly a century in sea-water, sold for ¢4,250 (€3,496).

Most of the items were recovered in August 2007 via an Achilles remotely operated vehicle (ROV), operated from a surface ship.

Premier Exhibitions, Inc. acquired ownership of the wreck of the Carpathia in 2001.

Mr Cussler, a hugely successful novelist, died last February.

His bestselling book, Raise the Titanic, was made into a movie, which proved prohibitively expensive. This led to the famous Hollywood remark by producer Lew Grade: Raise the Titanic? It would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic.

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