By Adam Dutton
A chipped cup and saucer thought to have been used by first-class passengers on board the Titanic smashed the expected sale price and fetched £6,000 ($7,227) at auction.
The china pieces were produced around 1911 and were stamped with “White Star Line” which owned the doomed ocean liner.
The espresso cup and saucer were also embossed with the code R4332 which was an exclusive batch of crockery made especially for the Titanic.
The opulent pattern is believed to have been used in the ship’s first-class restaurant.
Some experts suggest the collection was produced in such limited numbers that it may have been used for room service on private promenade suites.
The cup and saucer, painted cobalt blue with gold gilt, were recently discovered during a house clearance in the Four Oaks area of Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, England.
They were expected to fetch around £800 ($963) but a bidding war pushed up the price before an American buyer snapped them up for £6,000 ($7,227) at the auction.
Auctioneer Richard Winterton, said: “We had a tremendous amount of national and international interest in this lovely little cup and saucer, with people joining the auction online from all over the world.
“It was an exciting moment in the saleroom as bids flew in, finalizing at a superb £6,000 from the winning bidder in the USA.”
Sarah Williams, senior valuer at Richard Winterton Auctioneers, said: “It’s incredible to hold this cup and saucer and think of first-class passengers sipping coffee on the Titanic.
“This example has a few small chips and wear commensurate with age but the pieces really are in remarkable condition for such delicate ceramics over 110 years old.
“Discovered during a house clearance in the Four Oaks area, the Spode demitasse coffee cup and saucer in luxurious cobalt blue and gilt were produced around 1911 and both pieces are marked ‘White Star Line’.
“Crucially they also bear the pattern number R4332.
“This opulent pattern is believed to have been used in Titanic’s first class restaurant, but some experts suggest it was produced in such limited numbers that it may only have been used for room service on private promenade suites.
“Pieces of the distinctive R4332 ceramic are known to have been recovered from the wreck of Titanic.”
Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.
Both china pieces are marked “White Star Line” while the well of the saucer bears a gilt monogram for the Oceanic Steam Navigation the cup is stamped “Stonier & Co Liverpool” – the agents which facilitated the deal between Spode and the shipping company.
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