Antiques Roadshow: Titanic artefacts valued by expert
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A guest on a previous episode of Antiques Roadshow had turned up to have some very unique items valued and it was the turn of Jon Baddeley to take a closer look at some artefacts from the Titanic and give them the all-important valuation. When he revealed the items could fetch £15,000 should they go to auction, the crowd cheered.
Jon said: “This all relates to the most famous ocean liner in the world – The Titanic, and its sad demise in 1912, just over 100 years ago. It all relates to, I believe, a relation of yours, who was it?”
The guest replied: “My great uncle, Herbert John Pitman, was a third officer on the Titanic.”
Jon continued: “I have a photograph, and these are the surviving officers of the Titanic.
“Going from left to right, it’s – I think, Harold Lowe, Charles Lightoller, Joseph Boxhall and then there’s Herbert Pitman, just seated in the centre there.
“One of the more important things is his certificate of discharge. There’s his name – this was hugely important to anyone who had a career in ocean liners because it listed every single vessel you ever served on,” the expert added.
“And if you had good conduct or bad, so it’s basically like a school report. And if we just open it to the relevant date, you can see that he was on Oceanic and then in April 1912, he joined the Titanic.
“I’m just going to read an extract that I think is particularly poignant,” Jon said and then said out loud: “At this stage, it’s 2.20 am, he’s been lowered from the lifeboat, a full lifeboat, and this is his comment ‘at 2.20 am 15th April 1912, by my watch, all lights on board disappeared, and in a few moments, the vessel’s stern was in the air – the next moment, she was gone.’
“The photograph has been published before, you’ll find it in several books on Titanic, I have seen it before, and that’s how I could identify who they were,” those watching at home saw the expert add.
“But even so, it’s contemporary, presumably done not long after – maybe in the 1920s. So that’s going to be worth maybe sort of, £1,000 – £1,500.
“The manuscript – £2,000 to £3,000. However, the discharge papers; they weren’t on board, but it’s the whole of his life and his career and I would think certainly at auction it would be between £6,000 and £10,000.”
The owner of the items said her family are going to keep the cherished items and Jon understood: “I mean, it’s family.”
The guest replied: “It is, yes. We should be keeping it for a while.”
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The crew of the RMS Titanic were among the estimated 2,208 people who were on board the ship from Southampton set for New York City.
Approximately 688 crew members died during the sinking of the Titanic, with four surviving officers making history.
The photo brought in has become famous among Titanic experts and depicts the survivors together, poised for a photograph.
Jon said: “You should be keeping it, and how proud to have that man as part of your history, and I’m sure it’ll remain in your family for a long time to come.”
“Oh I think so, yes,” she responded.
Jon concluded: “Well, thank you so much,” before asking the crowd: “Were you excited about that? I was!”
The crowd again cheered in agreement over the significant items they had just heard the story behind.
Antiques Roadshow airs Sunday evenings at 9pm on BBC One.
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