World | news

Never-Before-Read Letter From The Titanic Sold At Auction For Record-Breaking Price

National Geographic

A water-stained letter from the ill-fated Titanic has been sold at a U.K. auction for a record-breaking $166,000.

The letter was penned by first class passenger, Alexander Oskar Holverson, on April 13, 1912, a day before the ship hit an iceberg and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean, becoming one of the world's most tragic disasters at sea.

The salesman wrote to his mother on embossed Titanic stationery, described the "giant" boat and how it fitted similar to a "palacial hotel."

"The food and drink is excellent," he adds.

He also comments on John Jacob Astor, one of the world's richest men at the time, sitting on a deck of the vessel.

“John Jacob Astor is on this ship," Holverson writes. "He looks like any other human being even tho he has millions of money.”

Heartbreakingly, he tells his mother: “If all goes well we will arrive in New York Wednesday A.M.”

The next day Holverson would be one of over 1,500 people to perish in the shipwreck.

Holverson boarded the Titanic in Southampton, England with his wife, Mary Alice and had intended to mail the letter when they reached their New York destination. She was one of the ship's few survivors.

Holverson's body was later found with the letter tucked away in his pocket book.

Auction house Henry Aldridge & Son, which specializes in Titanic memorabilia, had originally given the letter a reserve price of between $80,000 and $105,000, but the price skyrocketed following the bid of an unnamed U.K.-based collector.

Auctioneer, Andrew Alderidge said the letter was "the most important Titanic letter we have ever auctioned" due to the nature of the paper, its markings and history.

During the same evening, an iron locker key from the ship belonging to Sidney Daniels, a steward and the last surviving member of the crew was sold for $100,215 along with two previously unpublished photos of the Titanic as it departed from Southampton, for $31,650.