Letters about RMS Titanic sinking will cross the auction block in New York

A historically significant, museum-quality archive of material pertaining to the doomed ocean liner the RMS Titanic will be offered on the first day of a three-day multi-estate sale planned for October 21-23 by Philip Weiss Auctions.

The event will be held in the firm's gallery facility in Oceanside, New York.

"It's rare when anything Titanic-related comes on the market, and when it does it's often a minor item," said Philip Weiss of Philip Weiss Auctions.

"But this is an incredible archive that came to us directly from a descendant of John and Nelle Pillsbury Snyder, who were rescued when the Titanic sank on the morning of April 15, 1912. This is sure to generate great interest."

Included in the archive is a letter written on Titanic stationery (and dated April 10, five days before the sinking); another letter, dated April 18, that talks about the confusion from news sources and the White Star Line (which built the Titanic) at the time of the sinking; and original photos taken from the rescue ship the Carpathia, showing lifeboats headed towards survivors.

A letter from the RMS Titanic

Historically significant archive of material pertaining to the
doomed ocean liner Titanic

Also included will be a group of possibly the only photos in existence of the steamship Californian, shown sailing toward the Carpathia in a belated rescue effort. An inquiry at the time revealed the Californian was actually closer to the Titanic than the Carpathia, and even saw the rocket flares indicating a ship in distress, but for a variety of reasons it was slow to respond.

The archive will also boast a wealth of newspaper clippings from the time, numerous family mementos, Titanic history and collectibles. The October 21 session will also have a unique Mexican War/Civil War trunk belonging to Maj. William Schoonover, of the 176th PA Infantry, complete with identified daguerreotypes, books, photos and other items kept by his descendants.

Also offered will be a rare World War II German SS Totenkopf H. Himmler honour ring, engraved and dated (September 11, 1941), with a certificate of authenticity; and important percussion pistols and shotguns, including a pair of unfired John Dickson dueling/target pistols made in Scotland in 1897 and once belonging to the eccentric British firearms collector Charles Gordon.

Monroe on the first-ever issue of
Playboy magazine

Saturday, October 22, will feature sports items, stamps and coins, rare books, autographs and maps.

Highlights will include a trove of 1930s and '40s baseball and non-sports cards, jockey Willie Shoemaker's first signed contract as an apprentice, a single-signed Roberto Clemente baseball; and a baseball signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

Other sports-related offerings will include a contemporary Yankee Stadium painting by William Feldman; David Cone's 1988 New York Mets All-Star Game-worn jersey and pants; an 1879 baseball ticket from the Duquesne Baseball Club; a 1948 Olympic torch; and other items.

Stamps will include Part 5 of the Great Lakes Collection, plus many additions from other prominent estates. Coins will feature a single-owner estate collection of ancient gold and silver coins.

Rare books will include a copy of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, with an original drawing by N.C. Wyeth. Also sold will be a copy of Playboy #1, with Marilyn Monroe.


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