Philadelphia link to Titantic artifacts in auction

This locket has been called one of the most personal artifacts in private hands: The original locket recovered from the body of millionaire George Dunton Widener's valet, Edward Herbert Keeping of Philadelphia, PA. It is among the items from the RMS Titanic that will be auctioned April 19-26 at website

April 13, 2012 2:46:32 PM PDT
An auction of items from the sunken Titanic, including one special one with a Philadelphia connection, are going on the auction block.

Mr. and Mrs. George Dunton Widener from Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, boarded the RMS Titanic at Cherbourg, France, with their son, Harry Elkins Widener, Mr. Widener's man servant, Edward (a/k/a Edwin) Herbert Keeping, and Mrs. Widener's maid, Amalie Henriette Gieger. They had been in Paris with their servants searching for a chef for Widener's new Philadelphia hotel, the Ritz Carlton.

While Mrs. Widener and her maid were saved, the Widener men as well as Keeping died during one of the largest maritime disasters in history.

An original locket among Keeping's personal effects recovered from RMS Titanic tragedy will be featured in an upcoming Titanic auction, from New Hampshire based RR Auction in April.

The beautiful locket containing two photographs, one of his wife and the other of their daughter and was officially recorded by the provincial coroner of Nova Scotia before it was returned to his wife.

Keeping was 33 years old. His body was the 45th to be recovered by the chartered cable ship Mackay-Bennett.

Keeping's wife replaced her daughter's water damaged portrait with one of her husband and the locket has remained in Keeping's family continuously until the present.

He had met his wife, Karin Johansson, who was from Sweden while they were both working for the Wideners as servants at the Widener estate. Johansson was home in Pennsylvania attending to their 3 year-old daughter when the disaster occurred.

"It represents one of the most impressive artifacts with direct ties to the Titanic," says Bobby Livingston, VP at RR Auction, "The rarity and beauty of this striking and poignant locket cannot be overstated."

The Titanic auction will offer the public the opportunity to bid on a vast array of recovered relics and signed memorabilia relating to one of the grandest?and most infamous?vessels to ever succumb to the sea. This historic assemblage will be available for bidding starting April 19-26.

Among the other museum quality pieces to be featured:
* Locket recovered from millionaire George Dunton Widener's valet.
* Last known letter from Titanic's heroic bandleader
* An original fragment of the Titanic's aft grand staircase; which was within frightening proximity of the exact location the ship broke in two.
* An 18 karat gold collar stud: recovered from the body of first class passenger, Austin Partner, and returned to his family.
* Rare pay slip from a surviving crewman; for his six days of service aboard the Titanic.

A preview is currently available at