Millvina Dean was 2 months old when she was wrapped in a sack and lowered into a lifeboat from the deck of the sinking Titanic.
Now, more than 95 years later, Dean, the last living survivor of the disaster, is hoping to help pay her nursing home fees by selling artifacts of her rescue – a suitcase and other mementos expected to sell at auction for about $5,200.
Rescued from the bitterly cold Atlantic night by the steamship Carpathia, Dean, her brother and her mother were taken to New York with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Before returning to England, they were given a small wicker suitcase of clothing, a gift from New Yorkers, to help them rebuild their lives.
The suitcase and other mementos are to be sold Saturday at an auction organized by Henry Aldridge and Son, which specializes in Titanic memorabilia.
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Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said the key item was the suitcase that was filled with clothes and donated to Dean's surviving family members after the disaster.
“They would have carried their little world in this suitcase,” Aldridge said Thursday.
Dean also is selling letters from the Titanic Relief Fund offering her mother 1 pound, 7 shillings and sixpence a week in compensation.
Dean, 96, has lived in a nursing home in the southern English city of Southampton – Titanic's home port – since she broke her hip two years ago.
“I am not able to live in my home anymore,” she said. “I am selling it all now because I have to pay these nursing home fees and am selling anything that I think might fetch some money.”