Titanic Survivor's Fur Coat Sells At Auction For £150,000

Jack Sprat

Jack Sprat

2017-04-24 09:46:09

A fur coat worn by one of the survivors of the Titanic as she was evacuated into a lifeboat has smashed its estimate at auction in the U.K.

The full length beaver lamb fur coat, which sold at Henry Aldridge & Son in Wiltshire, belonged to Mabel Bennett, a First Class stewardess aboard the Titanic.

Bennett was one of two stewardesses who escaped aboard Lifeboat #5, along with Third Officer Herbert Pittman, five other crew members and around 30 passengers.

According to a letter of provenance by Bennett's grand-niece accompanying the coat, she took the thick coat with her as she was being evacuated from the sinking ship:

"On her rescue from the Titanic she was in her nightdress and this coat was the first garment she snatched for warmth."

Lifeboat #5 was one of the first to be met by the steam ship Carpathia, which arrived in the area the following morning to search for survivors.

Bennet wore the coat as she clambered aboard the rescue ship, then during the onward journey to New York. She was also photographed wearing the coat on her return journey to England a few days later aboard the Red Star Line S.S. Lapland, along with several other Titanic stewardesses who witnessed the tragedy.

Bennett eventually lived to the age of 96, making her the oldest female Titanic crew member, and passed the coat down to her grand niece in the 1960s, as the sheer weight of it made it too heavy for her to wear.

The coat remained in the same family's collection for almost 90 years, and was later exhibited in a major U.S Titanic exhibition where it was viewed by tens of thousands of visitors from around the world.

Described as "one of the most remarkable Titanic items to have been offered for auction in recent years", the remarkable coat had been expected to sell for £50,000 - £80,000 – but achieved a final price of £150,000 ($192,400).

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