Rare two-page Titanic letter sails home to Ireland for $40,700 A rare, two-page letter, handwritten aboard the HMS Titanic by an assistant surgeon on the doomed ocean liner, sold for $40,700 after it had failed to meet the reserve in an auction held March 1-3.
R.W. Graham. Also sold was a first-class deck plan of the Titanic ($4,294), plus three early Marconigrams (radio telegrams), sent in the hours immediately following the sinking.
The first-class deck plan, titled First Class Accommodation and given to passengers to help them find their way around the ship, measured 40 inches by 29 ½ inches and was in overall excellent condition, with just a few tiny seam tears. It was from a second printing, dated Jan. 6, 1912. The plan showed a detailed layout of all the decks, plus illustrations of the various rooms.
Titanic Belfast is an ambitious undertaking – nine years in the planning and costing about $150 million. It took three years to build and 10 months to fit out (same as the Titanic itself). The attraction sits on the grounds of the long-defunct Harland and Wolff shipyards, and tells the story of the Titanic from its inception (in Belfast’s industrial boom years) to its sinking and aftermath.
It is hoped Titanic Belfast will be an eye-catching center, one that will jump-start the city’s tourism economy and attract visitors from Asia and elsewhere. “This is our Eiffel Tower, our Guggenheim Museum,” one spokesman said. Indeed, the visitor experience uses a barrage of computer-generated imagery, audio, special effects and interactive touch screens to tell its story.
There are recreations of the luxurious first-class accommodations, as well as the tiny third-class bunks (which were nonetheless nicely appointed). A ride carries visitors through the sights, sounds and smells of the Harland and Wolff shipyards, while the Titanic’s launch is seen on a glass screen. A “3-D cave” permits visitors to ‘travel’ from the engine room up to the decks.
In the section on the sinking, the lights go dim and the temperature takes a dramatic drop. The horror and the heroism is then retold. The top two floors host the Titanic Suite, a banqueting space containing a replica of the ship’s grand staircase, featured prominently in the movie Titanic, with Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Admission to the Titanic Belfast costs about $25.
Philip Weiss Auctions will hold an estate auction in New York City on April 11. After that, it will hold another three-day extravaganza, the weekend of April 19-21. Offered will be stamps, coins, postcards (April 19); toys, trains, toy soldiers and dolls (April 20); and Disney items, animation, toys figurines and more (April 21). Visit www.weissaauctions.com for details.
Philip Weiss Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (516) 594-0731, or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Philip Weiss Auctions and the firm’s calendar of events, to include the upcoming April auctions, please log on to www.weissauctions.com.