Titanic key tops $100,000 at auction in the U.K

Jack Sprat

Jack Sprat

2016-10-24 11:16:17

A key from the Titanic has sold for more than $100,000, at an auction of memorabilia from the ill-fated ocean liner.

The locker key originally belonged to Second Third Class Steward Sidney Sedunary, who was just 23 years old when he transferred to the Titanic from its sister ship, the RMS Olympic.

His body was later recovered by the CS Mackay-Bennett Gold ring, the first of four ships chartered by the White Star Line to search for bodies following the tragic sinking of the vessel.

Sedunary was last seen on the night of the tragedy on F Deck, which housed the 3rd class stewards rooms. The key reportedly opened the deck's life jacket locker, and Sedunary's heroics on the flooded deck, helping people escape, were later recorded in evidence given at the British Inquiry by Steward John Hart:

"9903. - I waited about there with my own people trying to show them that the vessel was not hurt to any extent to my own knowledge and waited for the chief third class steward or some other Officer or somebody in authority to come down and give further orders. Mr. Kieran came back. He had been to sections S and Q and R to see that those people also were provided with lifebelts.
9904. S and Q and R are all in the extreme after part of the ship are not they;
- That is correct.
9905. S is on deck G R is on deck F and Q is on deck E all in the extreme afterpart of the ship;
- Yes.
9906. He (Chief 3rd class steward Kieran) had been there to your knowledge;
- Yes he had also his assistant with him one by name of Sedginary. [Sidney Sedunary.]
9907. (The Commissioner.) The chief steward and his assistant Sedginary went right aft did they;
- Yes.
9908. To S R and Q;
- Q S and R."

Sedunary was later buried at sea, and his personal effects, which were returned to his family, were listed as: "knife; nickel watch; pawn ticket; pipe; ship's keys; 20s.; $1.40; 8 francs 50."

Many of these items were donated by his relatives to the Southampton Maritime Museum, including the keys to his cabin and his pocket watch, with its hands forever frozen at 2:20am – the moment he entered the water.

Amongst the items retained by Sedunary's family were his keys for Locker 14 on F Deck, which his son Sidney Jr. later gave to family members visiting from Australia in 1981.

The key was consigned to the auction conducted by Titanic memorabilia experts Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire. Offered with an estimate of around £50,000, it eventually realized a final price of £85,000 ($104,450).

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