Every once in a while something really exceptional turns up at auction and so it is at the Lynes & Lynes (Cork) Sale on Saturday 26th January. The item in question is a bookcase from the White Star Liner “RMS Celtic” which went on the rocks at the entrance to Cork Harbour on the 10th December 1928. The “RMS Celtic” was built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast and launched in April 1901. The liner had previously led something of a charmed life, surviving World War.I. despite striking a mine in 1917 (17 dead) and being torpedoed in March 1918 (6 dead) but her luck finally ran out on the 10th December, 1928 when she ran aground – this time there were no casualties with all passengers and crew being rescued, but the ship was deemed unsalvageable.
Harland and Wolff would also have made all the furniture including this bookcase at the time. Robert Welch was their official photographer who took the accompanying photograph of the first class library showing the bookcase in situ. The photograph is reproduced here by kind permission of the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum.
It is a large four door breakfront bookcase with decorative glazing bars on the upper section and inlaid with sea shells. The base has fine marquetry panels and is inset with a brass letter box for posting at sea.
Attempts to refloat the liner were unsuccessful and by March 1929 a lot of the cargo and valuable furnishings had been removed by special salvage vessels and sold. Interestingly, according to Lynes & Lynes, there are many pieces from this liner still to be found in Cork houses but this is the first substantial piece that has come on the market since 1929. The Auction Estimate for the bookcase is €10,000 – €15,000.
Further details available here: http://www.lynesandlynes.com/