A cane of a Titanic survivor, with an electric light she used to help a lifeboat, is one of the thousands of maritime items that will be auctioned off in Rhode Island.
The Guernsey auction house holds the auction at the International Yacht Recovery School in Newport on July 19 and 20 and President Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey described Ella White's reed as one of the most extraordinary items that survived the sinking.
But since the seller will pick up between $ 300,000 and $ 500,000 next week in an attempt to pay for college, family members said last week that they were willing to fight the sale, claiming that the funds should be split.
& # 39; It is a legendary object and Titanic enthusiasts have certainly heard of it & # 39 ;, he said. & # 39; Most didn't know it was survived. The family has done nothing to promote it, so it's a very exciting discovery, "Ettinger said about the find.
A Light-up walking stick that helped save Titanic passengers will be available for purchase at the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport on July 19 and 20 and will collect $ 500,000
Most didn't know it survived the sinking ship in April 1912, but it helped save lives
The cane was handed over to the Guernsey & # 39; s by the Williams family in Milford, Connecticut.
Brad Williams said his grandmother, Mildred Holmes, was White's niece and took care of her business before she died in 1942 at the age of 85.
Holmes took possession of the walking stick and it was passed on to Williams' mother, and then to him, according to the seller.
Williams, a 59-year-old sugar cane collector, says he kept it in an umbrella stand with around 35 other sticks.
He said he wants it to go to a house where it is easier to see and uses the proceeds for his children.
Late New York socialist Ella White picked up the item when she hurt herself in France
& # 39; It's family history, so I'm shy about saying goodbye, but I also have to pay for college & # 39 ;, said Williams, who runs a boat repair company in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
The estimate before the auction is $ 300,000 to $ 500,000, although Ettinger said it is very difficult to predict what it can retrieve because it is such an unprecedented artifact. A violin played by the band leader of the Titanic when the ship sank at the 2013 auction for around $ 1.7 million.
On the night of April 14, 1912, the British liner RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic and began to sink. The ship went under two hours and 40 minutes later and more than 1500 people died.
In Walter Lord & # 39; s book on the Titanic and in post-sink investigative hearings, it is documented that White has appointed herself as a seiner for lifeboat 8, waving her cane.
Guernsey & # 39; s will have other Titanic items for sale, but the walking stick is clearly the most striking item and the auction house has verified its authenticity, Ettinger said.
It is a black enamel stick with an amber-colored bakelite and a battery-lit crown. Williams said it still lights up.
It is a black enamel stick with an amber-colored bakelite and a battery-lit crown. It is still burning
White used the electric light to warn of help and others rowed the lifeboat until they were seen
& # 39; Things don't usually stay protected this way. Items are misplaced, lost, forgotten, thrown away, traded, & # 39; said Ettinger. & # 39; This most historic walking stick remained in the hands of that family and will be sold for the first time in more than 100 years. & # 39;
But the New York Post reported John Hoving, 61, and his brother, Samuel, were set to take on Williams. They claim that Holmes did not give her daughter the baton, but that it was her son instead.
Guernsey & # 39; s president Arlan Ettinger described Ella White's reed as one of the most extraordinary items that survived the sinking
Hoving said his father, Harry S. Durand, kept it in his umbrella stand at 340 East 72nd Street New York, NY 10021 until he moved and it disappeared.
& # 39; We are now reaching out to a lawyer & # 39 ;, Hoving told The Post last Saturday. & # 39; I don't care about the dough. It's just a kind of injustice. It is the principle of the thing. It is a family tradition. And when he starts selling it, there are ten or eleven cousins and brothers and sisters. It must be divided among all of us. & # 39;
Pottery fragments recovered from the wreck site will also be auctioned. A large number of other nautical artifacts will also be auctioned, including a poster from the ship owner, White Star Line and a passenger voucher at the Titanic.
The auction & # 39; A Century at Sea & # 39; of 700 lots also includes paintings by famous seafarers, wooden boats, handmade ship models and items from a large number of other notable ships, including the RMS Lusitania, the SS Normandie, SS Andrea Doria and SS United States. Gold, pearls and emeralds from Spanish shipwrecks from the 1600s, found by treasure hunter Mel Fisher, are also auctioned.
It is the first auction that the New York-based auction house has held in Newport since 1988. The auction preview starts on July 18 at the yacht restoration school, which prepares students for careers in technology and shipping.
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