April 21 auction includes Titanic postal history
By Michael Baadke
An upcoming auction in England is offering numerous artifacts of the doomed luxury liner RMS Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912.
The April 21 auction by Henry Aldridge & Son includes a wide range of items, such as a publicity booklet, photographs and picture postcards of Titanic and other vessels, the liner’s chart room key with brass tag, menus, glassware and silverware, and much more. The Titanic memorabilia makes up most of the 240 lots of the Saturday sale.
There are also several items of interest for the postal history collector.
One of these is a postal facing slip that was recovered from the body of Oscar Scott Woody, a 41-year-old postal clerk from the United States who was working in the ship's mailroom and perished in the disaster. The 3-inch by 5-inch buff-colored slip is stamped “O.S. Woody” and “TITANIC” and marked with the ship’s trans-Atlantic postal cancellation.
The postal facing slip is listed by the Aldridge firm with an estimate of £15,000 to £20,000 (roughly equivalent to $21,500 to $28,655 in the week prior to the auction). Bidding opens at £9,000 ($12,900).
Another postal item on offer is a “rare Titanic letter card written on board and posted with original one penny stamp and crisp Queenstown postmark.”
The cryptic message on the letter card (which includes the admonishment, “My wife is in England. Do not write to her”) was written onboard by Henry Beauchamp, a second-class passenger who also died in the sinking. The letter card features a bold color imprint of the White Star Line burgee and is franked with what appears to be the re-engraved 1-penny red King George V stamp issued Jan. 1, 1912 (Great Britain Scott 154).
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The ship departed from Southampton on England’s southern coast at noon on April 10, 1912, heading across the English Channel to dock at Cherbourg, France, where more passengers boarded. At 11:30 a.m. on April 11, Titanic arrived at Queenstown, Ireland, the ship’s final port of call before heading west across the North Atlantic to its intended destination, New York City. Beauchamp’s letter card, addressed to London, was mailed at Queenstown on the 11th and was struck with a London receiving postmark the following day.
Like the Woody facing slip, the Titanic letter card also carries an estimate of £15,000 to £20,000.
A few other items of correspondence and postcards are included in this auction, which is posted on the auction firm's website. The Aldridge and Son firm also reports that live Internet bidding is available through the-saleroom.com or invaluable.com.
For additional information contact Henry Aldridge and Son, Unit 1, Bath Road Business Centre, Bath Road, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1XA, England.
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