Titanic passengers' signed manuscripts sell in Oceanside memorabilia auction
Manuscript letters written in 1912 by a survivor and casualty of RMS Titanic are up for sale in New York
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Monday 13 January 2012
Here's a quick reminder that two important letters from the doomed ocean liner RMS Titanic are auctioning in Oceanside, New York, US, on March 2. They will sell alongside three early Titanic Marconigrams (radio telegrams).
Both manuscript letters were written by separate passengers aboard Titanic's doomed voyage when it struck an iceberg in 1912. One survived, while the other perished in the ship's sinking. Also remarkable is that one author refers to the other in his text...
Most valuable of the letters is a two-page manuscript handwritten on White Star Lines stationery. The author is John Edward Simpson, who didn't survive the disaster. Simpson was hired on April 6, 1912, as an assistant surgeon on the Titanic. He treated second and third-class passengers.
Penned to Simpson's mother, the note reads: "I am very well and am gradually getting settled in my new cabin, which is larger than my last." His letter, penned aboard Titanic on April 11 - four days before the sinking - is expected to bring $40,000-$50,000.
Survivor Charles Herbert Lightoller was a 2nd officer aboard the Titanic. His letter is typed rather than handwritten, is two pages long, and is boldly signed. Mr. Lightoller wrote his note aboard another ship the Adriatic on May 1, 1912.
It's certainly remarkable that each of these missives are appearing for sale in the same auction. Not only was Mr Lightoller likely the last man to have seen Mr Simpson alive, he also goes into a detailed account of the assistant surgeon's last hours alive.
"I may say that I was practically the last man to speak to Dr. Simpson, and on this occasion he was walking along the boat-deck in company with … They were perfectly calm in the knowledge they had done their duty."
Mr Lightoller's letter also notes that Mr Herbert displayed "a calm and cool exterior to the passengers." The second letter is also written on White Star Lines stationery. It carries a pre-sale estimate of $15,000-$20,000.
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Images: Philip Weiss