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    Sale 2073

    Ocean Liner

    25 June 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 79

    A RARE EARLY 20TH-CENTURY LIFE PRESERVER

    ATTRIBUTED TO FOBBERY & CO., RICH ST., LIMEHOUSE, LONDON; CIRCA 1912

    Price Realised  

    A RARE EARLY 20TH-CENTURY LIFE PRESERVER
    attributed to Fobbery & Co., Rich St., Limehouse, London; circa 1912
    comprising twelve (12) rectangular cork-filled stitched canvas panels with shoulder rests and side straps, heavily worn and stained with small areas of loss to the canvas and cork.
    23 x 12 in. (58.4 x 30.5 cm.)


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    Provenance

    John James Dunbar; North Lake (Cape Breton), Nova Scotia
    Jean (Dunbar) MacQuarrie
    Winston Dunbar MacQuarrie
    and thence by descent to the present owner


    Post Lot Text

    This life jacket was recovered by John James Dunbar when he went to Halifax to help with the cleanup after the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic. He brought the life jacket back on his return to North Lake, N.S. It is unclear whether it came from a beach "sweep" looking or remains along the shores of Nova Scotia, or from a victim recovered by the S.S. MacKay-Bennett, S.S. Minia, or one of the other ships sent out on the search for bodies, or from debris recovered by one of the ships (it is well documented that all of the ships brought back pieces of floating debris, such as pieces of wood and deck chairs). John James Dunbar apparently did this sort of thing whenever help was needed, and did the same after the Halifax Explosion of 1917.

    In comparison to other fully documented Titanic life vests, specifically the vest in the collection of the Titanic Historical Society from Mrs. Astor, or the one sold by Christie's from Mrs. Mabel Francatelli, it is an exact match for size and construction. It is obvious that it has been in the water for a period of time, which would account for the the absence of any printed marking and the presence of oil and possibly blood stains.