Over 30,000 people attended the funeral of Wallace Hartley

The Last Letter Ever Written on the Titanic Sells at Auction for $200,000

A rendition of the Titanic Sinking on that fateful night in history
A rendition of the Titanic Sinking on that fateful night in history

 

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, as it goes under the hammer in the United Kingdom
The letter, as it goes under the hammer in the United Kingdom

 

 

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.

 

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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.

 

The underbelly of Titanic at the props
The underbelly of Titanic at the props

 

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.

 

Titanic just before she leaves the U.K.
Titanic just before she leaves the U.K.

 

 

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.

 

Hartley's Violin, sold under the hammer in 2013 for $1.4 million dollars
Hartley’s Violin, sold under the hammer in 2013 for $1.4 million dollars

 

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.

Wallace Hartley and the Titanic Bank that refused to leave the Titanic
Wallace Hartley and the Titanic Bank that refused to leave the Titanic

 

Over 30,000 people attended the funeral of Wallace Hartley
Over 30,000 people attended the funeral of Wallace Hartley

 

A fitting monument for one Wallace Hartley
A fitting monument for one Wallace Hartley

 

The grave a beautiful marble marker for Wallace Hartley (note the violin carved into the base)
The grave a beautiful marble marker for Wallace Hartley (note the violin carved into the base)

 

 



Other record breaking results at auction in recent years include the following:

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

 

 


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Timothy Walker is a writer and photographer living in Davao City, Philippines
Timothy Walker is a writer and photographer living in Davao City, Philippines
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