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Titanic captain's haunted mirror could fetch £10,000 at Staffordshire auction

By Megan Archer | Staffordshire | News | Published:

A ‘haunted’ mirror owned by the captain of the Titanic is expected to fetch up to £10,000 when it goes up for auction.

Richard Winterton looking into the mirror

Captain Edward John Smith, who lived in Staffordshire, went down with the ship after it was hit by an iceberg during its maiden voyage shortly before midnight on April 14, 1912.

Its original anchor was made in Netherton in 1911 by Noah Hingley and was towed to Dudley train station by 20 shire horses for the start of its journey to Belfast.

Now, the silver-framed easel mirror, which sat on Captain Smith’s dressing table at home, will be up for grabs at Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ Fine & Decorative Arts Sale at The Lichfield Auction Centre on December 12.

Captain Edward john Smith

Included with the mirror is a small brown envelope containing a handwritten note explaining the item’s provenance.

After his death, Captain Smith’s housekeeper Ethelwynne was invited to choose any one item of his property as a keepsake and in lieu of wages.

The letter, which was penned by Ethelwynne’s sister-in-law Hilda, says that the housekeeper chose the silver mirror.

The note – addressed to someone called Ida – then chillingly adds: “She [Ethelwynne] always spooked me when she said that at times she could still see Captain Smith’s face in it on the anniversary of when the Titanic was sunk.”

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The letter explaining the mirror's importance

Mr Winterton said: “The last time Captain Edward John Smith saw his own noble, bearded visage before leaving home to take the helm of the Titanic was possibly in this very mirror.

“Even with one’s feet firmly on land and in the sunshine of a clear afternoon, there is something otherworldly about seeing your own reflection in such an object.

“Captain Smith must have surveyed his own image in this mirror countless times and the legend that his face can still be seen in it on each anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking is as compelling as it is chilling,” he added.

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“Whoever buys this in December will have it in good time to test that legend for themselves on the 107th anniversary next April.”

The Titanic hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage on April 14, 1912

The Bargain Hunt and Dickinson’s Real Deal star added: “Interest in the Titanic is as strong as ever.

“This mirror could fetch well in excess of £10,000 at auction.”

More than 1,500 people were lost when the Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean, less than three hours after it was struck by the iceberg.

The old mirror is thought to be haunted

A statue of Captain Smith, who was from Stoke-on-Trent, was unveiled in Lichfield’s Beacon Park in July 1914 – the cathedral city was chosen as the location due to its status as the centre of Staffordshire’s diocese.

The plaque on the memorial statue commemorates Smith’s ‘great heart, a brave life and a heroic death’, adding in quotes

“Be British” – a reference to his stiff upper-lip in the face of impossible adversity and what were widely believed to be his final words.

Dubbed “a sale in a generation”, the event at The Lichfield Auction Centre, in Wood End Lane, Fradley Park, will feature jewellery, gemstones, antique silver, pictures and furniture.

Viewing is on Saturday, December 8 from 9.30am-noon; Tuesday, December 11th from 10am-6pm and on the day of sale from 8.30am. The auction starts at noon.

Richard Winterton Auctioneers carries out free general valuations every Tuesday from 9.30am-4pm.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Deputy Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Deputy Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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