Titanic letter written day before disaster fetches £126,000 at auction

A letter written a day before the Titanic sank by one of the disaster's victims has sold for a record-breaking £126,000 at auction.

The handwritten note, on oversized embossed Titanic stationery, was penned on April 13, 1912.

It was written by First Class passenger Alexander Oskar Holverson, who intended to post it to his mother in New York.

Mr Holverson, a salesman, was one of more than 1,500 passengers and crew who died when the Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14.

The letter, written on three of its four pages, was found in Mr Holverson's pocket notebook when his body was recovered.

It fetched £126,000 during an auction of Titanic memorabilia at Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, on Saturday.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: "I'm delighted with the new world record for the Titanic letter.

The handwritten note, on oversized embossed Titanic stationery, was penned on April 13, 1912
The handwritten note, on oversized embossed Titanic stationery, was penned on April 13, 1912 (PA Picture desk)

"It reflects its status as the most important Titanic letter that we have ever auctioned."

Mr Aldridge said the letter was "exceptional on several levels including content, historical context and rarity".

The letter is one of the last known to have survived the sinking and the last known letter written on board by a victim.

It was received by Mr Holverson's mother after the ship sank and remained in his family.

A set of rusty locker keys that belonged to a cabin steward who survived the disaster were also sold at the auction
A set of rusty locker keys that belonged to a cabin steward who survived the disaster were also sold at the auction (PA Picture desk)

Stains on the paper show the reaction of the acid-rich paper when it was exposed to the salt water of the North Atlantic.

In April 2014, the last letter written on the Titanic sold for a total of £119,000 after being auctioned by Henry Aldridge & Son.

It was penned by survivors Esther Hart and her seven-year-old daughter Eva eight hours before the ship hit an iceberg and sank.

Titanic auctioneer Andrew Aldridge says collectors can own an object relating to Titanic from 1912 for a relatively small amount of money. pic.twitter.com/ty2gF9T2Es

-- The Titanic Channel (@TitanicChannel) September 26, 2017

A set of rusty locker keys from the Titanic that belonged to a cabin steward who survived the disaster were also sold at the auction.

They fetched £76,000, while two previously unseen photographs of the ship made £24,000.

"The prices illustrate the enduring interest in the Titanic and her passengers and crew," Mr Aldridge added.

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