Christie’s plans to put it on the auction block in New York City on June 25.
Christie’s sold another Titanic life-jacket last year in London for $119,000. This is the first to be sold at auction in the United States and one of only six believed to have survived to this day.
The vendor, Mr. MacQuarrie never met his maternal grandfather, John James Dunbar, who traveled to Halifax to help with the cleanup after the sinking of the Titanic. But through family lore, he knows Mr. Dunbar brought the life-jacket back to Cape Breton after finding it on a beach while working with crews recovering debris and bodies from the April 14, 1912, disaster that cost at least 1,496 passengers their lives. It has been in his family’s possession for 96 years.
Mr. MacQuarrie was turned down flat by several Ontario auctioneers, until he contacted Christie’s and sent photos of the life-jacket.
The Titanic life-jacket that sold for $119,000 last year might have fetched such a high price because it belonged to Lady Duff Gordon’s secretary. And also the story about the Gordons was that he had been accused of paying off the officers and crew members in the lifeboat to row away from the Titanic before the boat was completely filled. He was later cleared of that during the inquiries.
Christie’s estimates the life-jacket will fetch $60,000 to $80,000.