‘Latest, Largest & Finest’: 100yo Titanic relic emerges in Spain
The Royal Mail Steamship Union presented a silver and bronze plaque on April 9th, 1912, to the mayor and leader of the shipyard where the ship was built.
The plaque, weighing 1.8kg and measuring 28cm by 37cm, had a small light that illuminated a small window where the image of the Titanic appeared. It also carried the date of the doomed ship’sdeparture – April 10, 1912, from Southampton, England, to New York, US.
"This, the Latest, Largest and Finest Steamer Afloat," read the words on the relic.
The president of the shipyard where the vessel was built kept the ill-fated liner’s artifact. Subsequently, it was lost for about a century. However, 12 years ago a British man went to an art dealer in Barcelona to sell the plaque "because he needed money." He apparently didn’t know the relic’s value.
"The man brought the plaque to the Barcelona art merchant in a plastic bag and tried to sell it," the president of the Titanic Foundation Jesus Ferreiro told the Local. "Neither of them knew what it was, so naturally the merchant didn't want it. He had no idea it had tremendous value."
However, Leo Lorenzo Sancho, the grandson of the art dealer who bought the plaque, was a fan of the Titanic. He overheard the conversation between the British man and his grandfather and said that he wanted to have this sign to “decorate his room.”
A few days ago, Sancho offered the plaque to the Spanish Titanic Foundation to be presented in an exhibition dubbed Titanic the Reconstruction at the Granada Park of Sciences. However, he doesn’t intend to sell the relic.
"I have seen dozens of objects that people say are from the Titanic, spoons, forks, photographs. But most are just from that time period, not from the ship itself," Ferreiro said. "But with this plaque, when I saw it, I got the sensation that I had never seen something like this before."
The foundation consulted experts, who are yet to confirm the authenticity of the relic, he added.