November 30, 2021

White Star Line Button from One of Two Barbers on The Titanic (and a survivor) will be Auctioned Dec. 18 by Mohawk Arms

Bouckville, NY, USA, November 10, 2021 — A White Star Line button worn by one of two barbers on board the Titanic (who survived the disaster), plus a trove of items pertaining to the renowned American naval officer, aviator and polar explorer Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd are expected highlights in Mohawk Arms’ Militaria Auction #86, an Internet and gallery auction slated for December 18th.

Auction #86 is brimming with hundreds of items spanning multiple conflicts and generations, online and live in the gallery on Route 20 in Bouckville, in upstate New York. The full catalog will be up soon, at www.MilitaryRelics.com, plus LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. New items continue to pour in, like an American colonial Rev War-era cannon, circa 1740-1780.

Charles Weikman was a chief barber on the ill-fated Titanic the night it struck an iceberg and sank in the icy waters of the North Atlantic Ocean the night of April 15, 1912. He stood on the deck of the ship as it sank, awaiting his fate, when suddenly the stern of the ship rose out of the water to a perpendicular position, tossing him and hundreds of others in to the chilly waters.

Weikman was able to grab onto some floating debris and went unconscious. When he came to, he was in a lifeboat, one of the lucky ones who survived. He was still wearing his barber coat, with the White Star Line button (which has been authenticated as period correct to 1910-1912). He gifted the button to his daughter, who later gave it to one of her teachers, a button collector.

The teacher subsequently sold her collection, along with the button, to another collector, in Pennsylvania. Her son, who inherited the collection, is the consignor. An aside: Mr. Weikman later served as a barber on the Lusitania. He resigned, however, in early 1915, after German submarines began to target ships in the Atlantic Ocean. In doing so, he avoided a second disaster.

The button is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from the consignor. He writes, “My mother, Sara, was a button collector and received the button from her friend, Miss Helen Martin, who was also a button collector for many years. This button is from Charles Weikman’s coat. Charles was…..one of the two barbers on the Titanic…… Miss Martin was given the button by Charles Weikman’s daughter, Helen, a student of Miss Martin’s at Palmyra High School” (New Jersey).

The letters, photos and ephemera from the personal possessions of Rear Admiral Byrd (1888-1957) are certain to appeal to collectors who recognize the achievements of a true American hero and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Byrd claimed that his expeditions were the first to reach both the North and South Pole by air. He also discovered the dormant Mount Sidley volcano in Antarctica. Included are original reels of films (including one from the North Pole).

Also up for bid is an incredible photo taken in April 1928 for the Boston Traveler newspaper, showing Byrd, holding a package of anti-pneumonia serum, flanked by aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, after the two landed in Quebec, Canada, from New York. Their mission: to save the life of Floyd Bennett, who was suffering from pneumonia. The serum didn’t work; Bennett died.

Speaking of Lindbergh, also in the sale is an FBI poster relating to the 1932 kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, listing all the serial numbers of the bills. After an intense manhunt, police and the FBI eventually arrested Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German carpenter, and charged him with the abduction and murder of the 20-month-old. Hauptmann later died in the electric chair.

Also in the sale is a lot from the estate of Dr. Frederick White, who worked on The Manhattan Project, which produced the atomic bomb that ended World War II. Included is a government certificate, stating that his work was “essential to the production of the Atomic Bomb…” Also included is a lapel badge (“Inspectors Club, Big Rock Point Nuclear Plant”) and other ephemera.

Imperial German helmets, a staple at most Mohawk Arms auctions, will be led by the helmet of Prinz Alfons of Bavaria as Honorary Regimental Commander of the 5th Prussian Dragoon Regiment (“Freiherr von Manteuffel”), with dress/parade feather bush and four original photos (one autographed), four photo postcards (one autographed) and several other ephemera items.

Other Imperial German helmets will include a Prussian Jager/Schutzen officer dress shako, a Garde Uhlan “tschapka” (felt body), a Baden Artillery officer’s helmet and others. Also sold will be regimental steins (including a rare “Jager Regiment zu Pferde”), medals, swords (Bavarian Court, Kurrasier No.7 officer, etc.), a collection of Wilhelm II family and circa 1900 Fine Arts performers photo postcards, an Imperial Hungarian General’s parade dress tunic and other items.

German Third-Reich items will feature a correspondence file of initialed letters to and from Himmler, with translations (a report on the effect of V-1 rockets on Great Britain, war news, personalities, etc.); daggers (officer RLB and Red Cross, SA, NSKK, etc.), swords, a collection of medals, cuff titles, insignia, peaked caps and helmets (Bahnschutz, Fire Police, Red Cross).

Also up for bid will be European flint and percussion pistols, a U.S. 1820s “bell crown” shako, a Civil War “Tiffany” “wrist-breaker”, leather goods, Civil War excavated shell fragments with maps of locations, WWII items (uniforms, headgear, edged weapons, etc.), a Japanese WWI “Adrian” helmet with Red Cross cover, a kyo-gunto sword, posters and ethnographic weapons.

Mohawk Arms’ next big Internet and catalog auction after this one is planned for the spring of 2022, probably sometime in April. The company typically conducts two large sales annually. To learn more about Mohawk Arms, Inc., and the Internet and gallery auction planned for Saturday, Dec, 18th at 9:45 am EDT, visit www.MilitaryRelics.com.




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