Historically significant Titanic archive brings $100,570 at Philip Weiss Auctions A historically significant archive of material pertaining to the doomed ocean liner the HMS Titanic sold for a staggering $100,570 at an estate sale conducted Oct. 21-23 by Philip Weiss Auctions.
News-Antique.com - Oct 27,2011 - (OCEANSIDE, N.Y.) – A historically significant and museum-quality archive of material pertaining to the doomed ocean liner the HMS Titanic -- consigned by direct descendants of a couple that were rescued when the ship went down the morning of April 15, 1912 -- sold for a staggering $100,570 at a weekend estate sale conducted Oct. 21-23 by Philip Weiss Auctions.
“We were extremely fortunate that this incredible archive came to us from a descendant of John and Nelle Pillsbury Snyder, survivors of the tragedy,” said Philip Weiss of Philip Weiss Auctions. “We weren’t surprised when we began getting calls from potential buyers from around the world, as well as major news outlets. This was one of the most exciting finds we ever sold.”
The archive had several key components: a letter handwritten on Titanic stationery three days before the disaster; another letter written days after the sinking and providing a tremendous first-hand account of the sinking and its aftermath; and family photos, to include shots taken from the rescue ship the Carpathia and shots of the steamship Californian, which was nearby.
The letter handwritten on Titanic stationery was from Mr. Snyder to the proprietor of a London tobacco shop, where he bought cigars before boarding the ship. “While I sit here at the writing desk peacefully and complacently smoking ‘one of your best,’ I just want to say thank you,” Mr. Snyder wrote. Little did he know he’d be fighting for his very survival soon afterward.
The post-sinking letter, dated April 24, 1912, was from Mr. Snyder to his father. He wrote: “We were both asleep when the boat hit. When we reached the top deck only a few people were about and we were all told to go down and put on our life belts. We were almost the very first people placed in the lifeboat. Finally the bow went under – that the finest boat in the world was doomed. We hit between 11:40 and 11:50 p.m. and the Titanic sank at 2:22 in the morning.”
The photos included nine photos taken from the deck of the rescue ship Carpathia; four photos of the ocean, several showing ice chunks and a large iceberg; two photos of passengers in lifeboats heading toward the rescue ship Carpathia; and three photos of what looks like the S.S. Californian, headed toward the Carpathia. An investigation would reveal the Californian was actually closer to the Titanic than the Carpathia but for a myriad of reasons was slow to respond.
Two other Titanic-related lots were also in the auction. One was a 1906 Barber half-dollar coin recovered from the body of Titanic victim John Gill. The coin, which was previously sold in a 2002 auction held at the convention of Britain’s Titanic Society in England, was found in a pouch that contained his recovered personal effects. The coin sold for a reasonable $3,820.
The other lot was an exquisite Victorian metal widow’s locket that contained an early photo of Capt. Smith, who commandeered (and