1913 S.S. Alum Chine Rescue Archive
My grandfather and his brother were taking a launch out to a ship that was being loaded with dynamite in the Baltimore Harbor in 1913. And, while they were out there, the ship exploded. It was a Welsh freighter. And they were able to save 11 people who jumped, or they pulled onto the ship. And they then received a medal and a watch from the English government, and the gold cigarette case was from the ship's owners.
Okay, let me tell you a little bit about the watch first.
The watch is English, and it's made by J.W. Benson. The watch is called a demi-hunter. A demi-hunter means that you can see the time without having to open the watch. Originally, when people would fox hunt, they would not be able to open their watch, so this sort of came out as a way that you could pull the watch out of your pocket, see what time it was. Benson is a very, very good maker. The watch is sterling silver, and the engraving on the back is very interesting, and I'm going to read that. "Presented by the British Government "to James Patrick Good Hughes, "master of the launch Jerome of Baltimore, "in acknowledgment of his humanity and kindness "to the survivors of the crew "of the British steamship Alum Chine of Cardiff, "which was destroyed through an explosion of dynamite in the Chesapeake Bay on March 7, 1913." The next item is a medal that was George V, and the George V medal was given to him, and the inscription, which is along the side, talks about his valor and saving lives. The item over here is a nine-carat gold English cigarette case that was given by the owner and the captain of the ship to your grandfather for his valor. We also have a great picture done by a Baltimore photographer of the boat on fire. This is a picture of the launch that your grandfather owned. And a picture of your grandfather. The watch itself, as just a regular antique pocket watch, would probably be something that a collector would want to pay about $1,500 for. Your medal would bring in the $200 to $300 price range, and the cigarette case is something that would be in maybe the $2,000 to $3,000 range.
But, as a group, it appeals to a lot of people. It appeals to Baltimore collectors, it appeals to watch collectors, maritime collectors, so its retail value, to someone that's interested in any or all of the above, could probably bring a group like this more into the $8,000 or $9,000 value.
I'm surprised. That's good. I think it's going to stay in the family, though.
It's just a fabulous piece of Baltimore memorabilia.
Thank you. That's very good.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.