Titanic band leader's letter sells for $154,974

A letter from the leader of Titanic's band has sold for $154,974 at an auction in the US, comfortably within its $100,000-$200,000 estimate.

The letter was written on Titanic notepaper by band leader Wallace Hartley to his parents in England on April 10, 1912, five days before the ship sank in the Atlantic.

"Just a line to say we have got away all right," he writes.

"It's been a bit of a rush but I am just getting a little settled. This is a fine ship & there ought to be plenty of money on her.

"We have a fine band & the boys seem very nice."

Survivors of the tragedy are said to have heard the band playing Nearer, My God, to Thee, before being swept into the sea.

Titanic band letter
Wallace Hartley died five days after writing the letter

 

Hartley's body was recovered several weeks after the tragedy. More than 40,000 people lined the route of his cortege.

A gold locket found among the effects of man servant Edward Herbert, which contained a photograph of his wife, sold for $87,337 at the same sale.

A deck chair from the ship - one of only seven known to still exist - made $65,351.

The auction was one of several recent high profile sales of Titanic memorabilia, designed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking.

A two-page handwritten letter written aboard the ship made $40,700 at a New York auction in March.

The strong sales are confirmation of the power that anniversaries have in boosting the collectibles markets, a fact that savvy investors are well aware of.

We are still awaiting news on a single lot of 5,500 Titanic artefacts, worth an estimated $189m, which closed to bidders on April 2, so be sure to check back regularly.

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Sale price£3,995
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