Brooch from Titanic with Jack and Rose-like love story up for auction


It’s a love story that lasted over a century.

Titanic survivor Roberta Maioni was just 20 years old when she found romance with a young gentleman steward aboard the ill-fated voyage.

The first-class passenger fell in love with an unnamed crew member, who gifted her a white brooch the night of the ocean liner’s sinking.

Maioni lived in Norwich, England, and passed away in 1963, at the age of 71. A private collector bought the memento from members of her family more than two decades ago.

The piece of jewelry will soon hit auction, along with Maioni’s typed account of the ship’s demise — worth an added $6,500 (£5,000). She penned the diary entry in 1926.

While the pin is expected to fetch $78,000 (£60,000) at auction, the incredible love story behind the bauble is priceless.

Titanic survivor Roberta Maioni detailed her account aboard the Titanic in a series of entries in 1926.
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A photograph of Maioni in the 1900s.
A photograph of Maioni in the 1900s.
ZacharyCulpin/BNPS

Reminiscent of James Cameron’s 1997 hit film “Titanic” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, Maioni and the steward are said to have fallen in love before the liner infamously smashed into an iceberg on the cold night of April 14, 1912.

“During her lifetime Roberta is said to have told her family about how she survived the Titanic and about the young cabin steward she met on board,” auctioneer Andrew Aldridge told the Daily Mail. “She is said to have fallen in love with him and he with her.”

A page from Maioni's account of her experiences on the Titanic.
A page from Maioni’s account of her experiences on the Titanic.
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TITANIC, from left: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, 1997. ph: Merie W. Wallace / TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in 1997’s “Titanic.”
©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Although she never revealed his name to anyone — maybe because she was married by that time — she kept hold of this little brooch,” he continued.

Maioni, however, told her family some details about the unnamed gentleman.

“She told her family that the steward gave it to her, either as a token of love or something to remember him by as he probably realized his fate,” Aldridge explained. “Either way, it is an incredibly poignant item and one that has a direct connection with the Titanic.”

A close-up of the white star-shaped brooch from Maioni's love.
A close-up of the white star-shaped brooch from Maioni’s love.
ZacharyCulpin/BNPS
The brooch.
The brooch.
ZacharyCulpin/BNPS

Maioni scribed in her journals that she had been listening to music at the salon before going to her cabin on the night of the tragedy.

According to Maioni’s written account, the man sought her out once the ship started going down and urged her to get into lifeboat No. 8 to ensure her safety.

As she climbed into the lifeboat, the man handed her the brooch from his uniform. She was rescued by the RMS Carpathia shortly after the boat’s sinking.

Several other paper items penned by Maioni will also be sold at auction.
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UK: RMS Titanic departing Southampton on 10 April 1912. (Photo by: Pictures from History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The Titanic ship sailed from Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912, and sunk after a few days at sea.
Pictures from History/Universal

She wrote, “I was about to get up when a steward came and said, ‘Miss, we have struck an iceberg but I don’t think there’s any danger. Should there be, I’ll come back and let you know.’ In a few minutes the steward was back again, telling me not to be afraid but to dress quickly, put on my life belt and go on deck.”

Once she was seated in a lifeboat, she put on a life jacket and they rowed away to safety.

Cover letter Roberta wrote to the Daily Express regarding a story about her experience.
The cover letter Roberta wrote to the Daily Express regarding a story about her experience.
HAldridge&Son/BNPS
Maioni went on to live a full life following the tragedy. She died in 1963.
Maioni went on to live a full life following the tragedy. She died in 1963.
ZacharyCulpin/BNPS

“Then I heard the terrible cries of the twelve hundred men, women and children left upon her. And then came an awful silence, more terrible than the sound that had gone before,” Maioni recalled in her report.

The auction is set to be held on April 23.



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