Lot 47: Titanic Grand Staircase Brass Strip
December 16, 2012
Amherst, NH, USALive Auction
Description: Believed to have once been part of the decorative brass strip that ran across the front lip of each step on Titanic's aft first class Grand Staircase, this section of brass was cut and later used as one of four corner brackets that held together a wreck wood picture frame composed entirely of pieces of Titanic's aft Grand Staircase. This Titanic wreckage frame was hand-crafted by the Minia's carpenter William Parker and once completed it was given to James Adams, Chief Officer of the cable ship Minia. In a letter written on board Minia during the Titanic victim body recovery mission Minia crew member Will Mosher wrote to his sister Agnes: "Picked up any amount of wreckage. Deck chairs, chests of drawers, cushions, two steps of the grand stairway...etc." William Parker used all found elements which were once a part of the staircase when crafting his Titanic wreck wood frame. For the front of the frame he used carved balustrade from beneath the handrail, for the back section of the frame he used sections cut from steps or the back boards to the steps, and for the assembly brackets he cut the long decorative brass strips from the lips of the staircase steps into small rectangles which he then drilled with four holes each to accommodate fixing screws. For years following the disaster in 1912 and following the tragic death of Adams in a train/vehicle collision this picture frame remained in the family eventually passing into the hands of Gerald T. Mullin, the grandson of James Adams. In the 1990's the picture frame was publicly displayed as part of a special Titanic exhibition presented by the Vancouver Maritime Museum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In July of 1998 Gerald T. Mullin of Victoria, British Columbia, sold the frame, two document boxes made from Titanic wreck wood, a number plaque from a Titanic stateroom door, and a liquor cabinet made from the wooden wreckage of Titanic's wheelhouse door. Involved in this transaction was noted Titanic historian and collector Steve Santini. In August of 1998 the picture frame was dismantled by master woodworker William Ricks of Brandon, Manitoba. (See included pictures recording the frame being disassembled). Included with this lot is a signed letter of provenance from noted Titanic collector, researcher, and historian Steve Santini outlining the history of the Parker/Adams picture frame, copies of photographs showing the frame in its original state as displayed at The Vancouver Maritime Museum and during the process of it being disassembled, a copy of the original 1998 artifact release document signed by Gerald T. Mullin and Steve Santini, and photocopies of a Minia crew sign-on sheet which Adams signed as well as a photo of James Adams and of the cable ship Minia.