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Letter by Titanic victim sold for record price in Britain

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-10-23 09:34

Letter by Titanic victim sold for record price in Britain

A letter written on April 13, 1912 and recovered from the body of Alexander Oskar Holverson, a Titanic victim, was due to be auctioned on Saturday, and is seen in this photograph received via Henry Aldridge & Son, in London, Britain on Oct 20, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - A world record price of over 166,000 US dollars was paid at an auction in Britain Saturday for one of the last known letters to have been written on board the famous Titanic ocean liner.

Oscar Holverson, a US businessman, who was a passenger on the Titanic, wrote it on April 13, 1912, just before the liner hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage to New York in the early hours of April 15.

It is the only known letter, on headed Titanic notepaper, to have gone into the Atlantic Ocean when the ship went down, and survived.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge had given the letter a reserve price of between 80,000 dollars and 105,000 dollars, but an unnamed British collector took the bidding to its world record price.

The price beat the 157,000 dollars paid in 2014 for a letter that had been written a few hours before the Titanic sank.

Holverson, described as a successful businessman, had written the letter to his mother during the voyage. He had boarded the Titanic at Southampton with his wife Mary and they were making their way home to New York.

Although his wife survived, Holverson perished in the disaster and his body was recovered later, with the water-stained letter inside a pocket book. It was eventually delivered to his mother.

In the letter, Holverson had described the Titanic as like a palatial hotel, and also mentioned seeing fellow passenger John Jacob Astor who he described as one of the richest man in the world. Astor also died in the sinking.

Aldridge, who runs a family auction business in Wiltshire, said content of the letter took to it to another level in Titanic memorabilia, because of its date, the fact it went into the Atlantic and the observations it contained.

He said even if the letter was virtually blank, it would still rank as amongst the most desirable, such as the nature of the paper, its markings and history.

Other Titanic items sold in Saturday's auction included a set of keys belonging to a steward in the First Class section, which fetched 100,215 dollars and two previously unpublished photos of the Titanic as it departed from Southampton, which were sold 31,650 dollars.

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