Signed Photo of Titanic with Recovered Pieces of Coal
Impressive black and white 14 x 11 photo of the White Star liner RMS Titanic. Shown here docked at Southampton, England prior to her ill-fated maiden voyage, when on April 14, 1912 she struck an iceberg and sank, taking 1,517 lives with her. Signed by the last living (now deceased) survivor, Millvina Dean, this historic photograph is accompanied by a navy blue Titanic Coal presentation box (3" x 2.5" x 1") containing two authentic pieces of coal recovered from the Titanic on an authorized salvage expedition undertaken by the French ocean institute IFREMER in cooperation with RMS Titanic Inc. the organization serving as the exclusive steward of RMS Titanic. The Company is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the ship, wreck site, and all her passengers and crew through educational, historical, scientific, and conservation based programs. Since discovery of the Titanic wreckage by noted oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard in 1985, RMS Titanic, Inc. has honorably conducted eight subsequent research expeditions to the wreck of Titanic exclusively recovering and conserving more than 5,500 artifacts.
A US Federal Court has ruled that Titanic coal is the only rescued item from the ship that may be purchased by the public, making it a rare and valuable piece of historic memorabilia. Also accompanied by a photograph of Miss Dean signing the Titanic photo.
Elizabeth Gladys "Millvina" Dean (1912- 2009) was, at age 97, the last living survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic that occurred on 15 April 1912. Millvina was the youngest passenger on board, and had no recollection of the sinking.
Millvina's parents decided to leave England and emigrate to Wichita, Kansas where her father had family living and where he hoped to open a tobacco shop. The Deans were not supposed to be aboard the Titanic, but owing to a coal strike, they were transferred to the ship and boarded it as third-class passengers at Southampton, England. Millvina was barely two months old when she boarded the ship. Millvina's father felt the ship's collision with the iceberg on the night of 14 April 1912, and after investigating, returned to his cabin telling his wife to dress the children and go up on deck. Millvina, her mother, and brother were placed in Lifeboat 10 and were among the first steerage passengers to escape the sinking liner. Her father, however, did not survive, and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
At first, Eva, Millvina's mother, wanted to continue on to Kansas to fulfill her husband's wish of a new life in America, but after losing her husband so tragically and being left with two small children to care for, she decided to go home. Millvina, her mother, and brother, returned to England aboard the RMS Adriatic. While aboard the ship, Millvina attracted a lot of attention by being such a small child and surviving the disaster. An article in the Daily Mirror newspaper dated 12 May 1912 described the ordeal:
"She was the pet of the liner during the voyage, and so keen was the rivalry between women to nurse this lovable mite of humanity that one of the officers decreed that first and second-class passengers might hold her in turn for no more than ten minutes."
Millvina and her brother were raised mostly on pension funds and educated in neighboring Southampton schools, including The Gregg School. It was not until she was eight years old, and her mother was planning to remarry, that Dean found out she had been a passenger on the Titanic. Millvina never married, and worked for the British government during the Second World War and later as a purchaser for a local engineering firm. Other careers she has had were as a cartographer, a secretary and an assistant to a tobacconist.
Millvina's mother, Eva, died on 16 September 1975 at the age of 96, and her brother, Bertram, died at the age of 81 on 14 April 1992, coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the Titanic striking the iceberg.