A fur coat which saved the life of Mabel Bennett, a first class stewardess, in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster could be sold for £80,000 around 105 years after the ship had sunk.
Mabel Bennett who had previously served on the board of Titanic’s sister ship, Olympic signed onto Titanic on April 6th. The 33-year-old first class stewardess from Eling, Hampshire, England, was in her nightdress when the rescue started. Luckily, she took the coat from her room to keep her warm before climbing into Lifeboat No. 5.
— The Fur Insider (@TheFurInsider) April 13, 2017
She spent the next four hours on Lifeboat No.5 waiting for the rescue ship, The Carpathia to arrive. The air temperature had dropped to nearly freezing on the night of 14th April 1912, and the decision to take the coat with her was definitely worth the risk since the garment most probably saved her life.
As reported by the Sun, there is a photography of Mrs. Bennett taken on board the SS Lapland for the return voyage to England, and she can be clearly seen wearing the beaver lamb fur coat.
Mrs.Bennett, who died on 22nd September 1974, her 96th birthday, was most probably the last surviving female crewmember. 50 years later she gave the coat to her great niece, who nearly donated it to Bosnian refugees, but changed her mind when she learned about the garment’s real worth.
The coat was eventually sold to auctioneers in 1999 and is accompanied by a letter of provenance from her niece which reads: “This coat was worn by my Great Aunt Mabel who was a Stewardess. On her rescue from the Titanic, she was in her nightdress, and this coat was the first garment she snatched for warmth. My aunt gave me the coat in the early 60s, because of her advancing years she found the weight of the coat too heavy for her.”
— Sunday Post (@Sunday_Post) April 14, 2017
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge described the coat as “one of the most visual lots to have come to market it recent years.”
“Provenance with anything from the Titanic is vital, and it is possible to trace the history of the coat from the present day back to April 14th, 1912.”
The coat was recently on display at “Titanic, The World’s Largest Museum Attraction in the United States” and will be sold at auction by Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, on April 22nd.