RMS Carpathia, the Cunard steamship best known for the role it played in the rescuing of Titanic’s survivors, was discovered by professional salvage divers in 2007 at a depth of about 500ft, 120 miles west of Fastnet, Ireland.
After service during the First World War by the British Admiralty, she was sunk on July 17, 1918, when three torpedoes were fired by U-55 of the German Imperial Navy.
Numerous dives were made in August and September 2007 to recover more than 90 artefacts from the site – headed by expedition leader PH Nargeolet who also led several expeditions to Titanic’s wreck site.
The trophy finds included the telegraph from Carpathia’s bridge used to signal the engine room. Conserved but not restored, it was the star lot offered at Henry Aldridge & Son’s (plus 24% buyer’s premium inc VAT) Titanic, Liner and Transport memorabilia sale on April 17.
It was estimated at £50,000-80,000 and hammered down at £75,500. The successful phone bidder was a US collector of eclectic items, and was underbid from a UK phone bidder and a client in Monaco.
A sombre record of the Titanic dead recovered from the water after the disaster was offered alongside effects related to passenger John Jacob Astor IV, the richest man on board. Estimated at £12,000-£18,000, it sold at £22,000.
It was the crew of the Commercial Cable Company steamer Mackay- Bennett that had the grim task of locating and recovering the bodies.
During a seven-day search, 306 were recovered, of which 116 were buried at sea and 190 brought to a make-shift morgue in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the local coroner prepared a list of names plus notes of their clothing and personal effects.
This list was one given to Richard Roberts, the captain of the Astor family’s yacht Noma, who was sent to identify the body.
His name together with his Brooklyn, New York address is pencilled onto the end page and the list remained in the same area until recently.