Auctioneer Andrew Aldrige sold one of the most important hand-written documents ever from the Titanic. The letter was written by Esther Hart on the very same night of the one of the worst ship disasters in nautical history.
The letter was tucked inside of a Hart’s coat, given to her husband as he put Esther and their 7 year old daughter Eva into a lifeboat. Esther later found the note once back on land and realizing that her husband had gone down that fateful night with the Titanic.
The letter described in simplistic terms “A wonderful Passage”; and only hours later before it could be sent, Titanic hit an iceberg, sending it to the bottom of the sea in what today is called the Titanic Graveyard.
The auction house that sold the letter put a pre-sale estimate at $100,000 on the important document, but a bidding frenzy ensued, and the letter was hammered down to its new owner for 119,000 Sterling Pounds (or $200,000) in the United Kingdom.
Aldridge said the price reflected “the exceptional quality and rarity” of the letter. In the letter, the one noted quotation said ‘the sailors say we have had a wonderful passage up to now”. Eva, the 7 year old daughter also wrote a postscript to the note saying “Heaps of love and kisses to all from Eva.”
Hours later Even and Esther boarded the lifeboats never knowing what truly happened after the Carpathia came to their rescue. Lost in the ship that night was Benjamin Hart and 1,500 other passengers and crew but Esther and Eva and almost 700 others on board the Titanic were rescued.
The letter, on White Star Line notepaper, was in remarkable condition and the importance of the content made the auction end on such a high note. Esther Hart passed away in 1928 but Eva Hart, who became a prominent Titanic Survivor, passed away in 1996. Eva was critical of the attempts to salvage the ship, which she considered a mass grave.
In recent years the allure for Titanic memorabilia has set an all time record for the historic ship and its contents. In October the violin played by one of the most famous characters of all on the Titanic, Wallace Hartley, sold at auction for $1.4 million dollars. Noting the importance of the violin and its story, Hartley is the band player who refused to stop playing as the Titanic sank on that fateful night. Hartley has been highlighted in many movies about the Titanic for his heroic act of kindness.
1) Edward Herbert Keeping’s Locket — a simple locket recovered from the body of millionaire George Dunton Widener’s valet ~~~ Sold $110,000
2) Greeting Card of Sir Wallace Hartley —- the card from the violin player that went down with the Titanic while playing his violin ~~~ Sold $186,000
3) Period Photo of the Iceberg that Sunk Titanic — Taken by the captain of the Leyland Line Steamer the S.S. Etonian, 2 days before the Titanic Disaster ~~~ Sold $25,200
4) Lady Duff-Gordon’s Silk Kimono — Gordon’s silk kimono which she wore while on the Titanic and later on the Carpathia ~~~ Sold $75,000