Wigan antiques dealer Colin de Rouffignac didn’t give much thought to the undistinguished looking medal that he bought in a bric-a-brac shop 40 years ago, little did he know how valuable it was.
The medal was one of a very limited number of medals that were awarded to the crew of the ship Carpathia which rescued more than 300 passengers from the doomed Titanic.
He only spent a couple of pounds on the medal but will be putting it for sale after a similar medal fetched £6,000 at auction.
Colin’s timing couldn’t be better as it is one hundred years since the tragic ship set sail.
The Titanic sank in the early hours of the morning on 14th April 1912 and 1,500 passengers and crew lost their lives. Among the passengers who were saved by the Carpathia was the American socialite who became known as “the unsinkable” Molly Brown.
Molly Brown arranged for the medals to be made and given to the Carpathia crew members. The medals have become collector’s items for people who are fascinated by the Titanic.
Antique shop owner Colin said: “I’d forgotten I’d bought the medal until all this publicity about the anniversary.
“I didn’t pay all that much for the medal, and, to be perfectly honest, I was amazed when I read that they are now going through auctions for between £4,000 and £6,000. So if someone wants this piece of important memorabilia, then it’s here.”
“Everything ‘Titanic’ is extremely valuable, and in all my years as a dealer, this is the only item I’ve seen.
“I bought the medal all those years ago because I had an idea that one day it would go up in value. I’ve had to wait a very long time.”