Car boot bargain hunt finds Titanic treasure

Brighton Argus

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A rare item of memorabilia from the Titanic worth thousands of pounds has turned up at a car boot sale.

Amateur historian Trevor Bailey, of Kings Road, Brighton, and his daughter Rachel paid just £10 for the bundle of posters and magazines to a stall holder in Pease Pottage.

To his surprise, among the papers was a certificate awarded to an officer who rescued many of the survivors of the 1912 disaster.

Mr Bailey, 58, said: "I saw this bit of paper, quite ornate, but there was nothing about it which really jumped out until I read further down and saw the words RMS Titanic."

The Liverpool Shipwreck And Humane Society presented nine such certificates to crew members of the RMS Carpathia who were among the first to reach Titanic passengers after the liner struck an iceberg.

Mr Bailey, a marketing director, said: "Having done some research I found out it was awarded by the society, which is still in existence.

"It is quite rare because only eight others were awarded and there is a chance it is one of only a few left in the world.

"It really was a euphoric discovery for me. But it would be interesting to find out more about the man himself."

The certificate dated July 4, 1912, states that the award has been made to Ernest GF Brown for "praise worthy humane service to survivors of RMS Titanic which foundered on April 15, 1912".

The society presented the certificates along with gold and silver medals.

Lionel Willis, from Bonhams auction house, said the value of Titanic memorabilia has shot up following the release of the film which starred Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.

He said: "Genuine material relating to the Titanic does command a very high price at auction - particularly rare items related to the rescue.

"We know there were awards made to thank the crew of the Carpathia and if a certificate was genuine it could be worth between £2,000 and £3,000.

"But the only way to find out if it is authentic is to get a paper expert to look at it and compare it with another award.

"An identifiable paper trail would guarantee interest from collectors."

Mr Bailey has been collecting memorabilia for 50 years and is stunned by this latest find.

He said: "As a historian the value of something like this certificate is irrelevant but it is wonderful knowing you have something touched by a sailor who rescued survivors from the Titanic.

"It is the knowledge of having a piece of history in your hands and the energy from holding something almost 93 years old."

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Ernest G. F. Brown


Trevor Bailey


Encyclopedia Titanica (2005) Car boot bargain hunt finds Titanic treasure (Brighton Argus, ref: #4506, published 12 April 2005, generated 25th July 2021 03:06:43 PM); URL :