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.
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