A personal letter found on the body of a man killed in the sinking of the Titanic sold at auction on Saturday for $166,000 (N51.5 million), a record price for correspondence from the doomed liner.
The letter is one of the last known to have survived the sinking and still carries stains from its time in the Atlantic.
Written by first-class passenger Alexander Oskar Holverson on embossed Titanic “on-board” stationary, the letter to his mother describes his impressions of the palatial ship, praising the food and music.
“If all goes well we will arrive in New York Wednesday A.M.,” Holverson wrote the day before the ship’s fateful encounter with an iceberg.
Holverson was a Minnesota-born salesman, who was travelling on the ship with his wife, Mary Alice, who survived the sinking.
The letter was sold by the Holverson family at an auction held by Henry Aldridge & Son in the southern English town of Devizes. Iron keys from the Titanic also sold for $100,000 (N31 million).
“The prices illustrate the continuing interest in the Titanic and her passengers and crew,” said auctioneer Andrew Aldridge.
“I’m delighted with the new world record for the Titanic letter. It reflects its status as the most important Titanic letter we have ever auctioned.”
In his letter Holverson also described his experiences rubbing shoulders with one of the ship’s most famous passengers.
“John Jacob Astor is on this ship,” he said of the American financier and real-estate investor, who was one of the world’s richest men at the time.
“He looks like any other human being even though he has millions of money. They sit out on deck with the rest of us.”
The Titanic was the largest ocean liner in service when it struck an iceberg on April 14 1912 in the Atlantic while travelling from Southampton to New York. More than 1,500 people died.
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