R.M.S. Olympic - The Berwick Advertiser, Thursday, 19 December 1991
“Olympic” auction staggers organizers
A collection of steamship fittings which had lain in a barn near Berwickshire since they were bought at Jarrow in 1935 staggered auctioneers Anderson and Garland by fetching more than £30,000.
The discovery attracted widespread publicity and the auction sale held at Newcastle on Friday. Nearly one third of all the money was paid by Mr. Ken Marschall, an American, who had flown specially from his home in Los Angeles to attend the sale.
“The fittings were from the SS Olympic, sister ship of the ill-fated Titanic, so interest in them was phenomenal” said Mr. Andrew McCoull, a partner in the firm.
“The figure realised for what until this summer was just a pile of what looked like dusty old pieces of wood in a dilapidated barn in Northumberland has been truly astonishing.
“Mr. Marschall, who bought the lion’s share of the fittings, was acting on behalf of the US-based Titanic Historical Society and a number of collector friends in the States.”
His top bid was £9,000 for an assortment of columns and bases from the first class entrance hall and main staircase on the promenade deck comprising 14 pieces in all.
Many of these, together with his other purchases, will end up in the Titanic Society’s headquarters museum in Massachusetts, and in another museum in the same state.
The Olympic fittings were auctioned on Friday at the end of the firm’s four-day sale of pictures, glass, china, collector’s items, electroplate, jewelry and furniture which achieved a hammer total of £338,638.
“This has been an outstanding sale” commented Mr. McCoull.
“It has yielded an even higher figure than our last four-day sale in August. This, at a time of recession and general economic gloom, is quite incredible.”
A total of £6,000 was paid for a Victorian sideboard and £5,720 for an etching, as well as £7,370 for a German vase and £5,000 for a Victorian centrepiece.
© 2005 Eric Sauder
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