Ocean Liner Memorabilia Took Top Honors at Weiss Auctions
LYNBROOK, N.Y. - Ocean liner memorabilia took top lot honors at Weiss Auctions’ June 22 sale, as a letter handwritten aboard the ill-fated RMS Titanic on April 13, 1912 sold for $22,600, an original life ring from the SS Andrea Doria brought $8,050 and a glass clock presented to first class passengers on the maiden voyage of the SS Normandie in 1935 changed hands for $4,560.
Those three items were top achievers in an auction that was packed with hundreds of lots of antique advertising, rare books, historical memorabilia, autographs and more. Along with the ocean liner items was the lifetime coffee advertising collection of Lowell and Barbara Schindler, featuring not just coffee items but also syrup dispensers, talcum tins, signs and other rare pieces.
“It was a great auction across all categories, with internet and floor bidding very strong,” said Philip Weiss of Weiss Auctions, adding the final gross was around $220,000. Online bidding was by Proxibid.com and LiveAuctioneers.com. Phone and absentee bids were also accepted. The Thursday auction was held in Weiss Auctions’ gallery, at 74 Merrick Road in Lynbrook.
The 2 ½-page letter penned aboard the Titanic was on Titanic stationery, with the raised White Star Line and proper watermarks on the paper, which was water-stained in areas. The letter was unsigned, but was consigned by descendants of the author, a member of the Holverson family. They were en route to New York at the time. The letter was hand-addressed, “My Dear Mother.”
Oscar Alexander Holverson and Mary Aline Holverson were passengers aboard that fateful maiden voyage. Mrs. Holverson, 35, was rescued in lifeboat #8, but Oscar, 42, wasn’t so lucky. He perished in the disaster. It’s assumed, since the unposted letter was written aboard the ship, that the couple’s intent was to mail it, along with some postcards, after arriving in New York.
The SS Andrea Doria, of the Italian Line, was approaching the coast of Nantucket, Mass., on its way to New York City on July 25, 1956 when it collided with the Swedish vessel MS Stockholm, resulting in one of history’s most famous maritime disasters. The original life preserver ring was recovered the following day by Alan Ades, a Naval officer aboard a rescuing Coast Guard cutter.
The pale blue, tinted glass clock presented to just a handful of first class passengers aboard the SS Normandie’s maiden voyage was produced as a collaboration between the renowned French designer Lalique and Leon Hatot of the ATO clock company. The letters NORMANDIE spelled out nine of the clock’s twelve face numbers. The hands were made of tin and showed light wear.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include an 18 percent buyer’s premium.
Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln both made guest appearances. A six-cent U.S. air mail stamp signed in pen by Einstein and dated (“4.1.39”) flew off for $1,860. The stamp was a Scott Catalogue C23 example. Einstein’s signature was bold and clear. A lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair finished at $1,680. Also, a collection of cigar labels and salesman samples fetched $3,680.
A folio from 1976 titled Nudes by the noted British artist Henry Spencer Moore, copy #2 in a limited press run of 50, consisting of 10 chromolithos, each one signed and numbered in pencil, sold for $3,565. Also, a mixed media on canvas artwork by Kevin Red Star (Am., b. 1943) titled Mr. and Mrs. Choke Cheeries, 33 inches by 44 inches, signed upper left, topped out at $2,300.
A Disney Melody Time animation production set-up cel trimmed to image size and presented on a beautiful Courvoisier background, depicting a teary-eyed Little Toot tugboat sailing past a mile marker, realized $2,530. Also, a crisp and clear Confederate 1/9th scroll pattern ambrotype in a thermoplastic case, identified as Matthew McCauley (Danville, Va.) changed hands for $2,100.
An 1865 lithographed sanitary map of New York City, titled Sanitary and Topographical Map of the City and Island of New York (Egbert L. Viele, Robert Craighead), hand-colored and printed on two joined sheets, brought $2,530. Also, a derby hat worn by then-President William Howard Taft on a visit to El Paso, Texas on Oct. 16, 1909, to meet the President of Mexico, made $1,840.
Weiss Auctions’ next big sale is fast approaching. It will be held on Wednesday, July 19th, also online and in the Lynbrook, NY gallery. Headlining will be Part 1 of the Jerry and Nina Greene collection of toys, trains, soldiers and toy castles, as well as European trains and accessories from the Finger Lakes collection, toy soldiers and accessories from all makers, Lionel trains and more.
Also offered will be a Steiff collection (including larger pieces), dolls (including French fashion dolls, German bisque, vintage Barbie dolls and more), die-cast vehicles (including mint-in-box Matchbox and Dinkys), and pressed steel (including boxed Tonka, Structo, Buddy L railroad pieces, NyLint, Doepke and Smith Miller). There will be something for every taste and budget.
Weiss Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To consign an item, estate or a collection, you may call them at (516) 594-0731; or, you can send an e-mail to Philip Weiss at Phil@WeissAuctions.com. For more information about Weiss Auctions and the big auction planned for Wednesday, July 19, visit www.WeissAuctions.com. Updates are posted often.
Image: Handwritten letter, penned on actual RMS Titanic stationery and written aboard the ship by a member of the Holverson family, en route to New York ($22,600).