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Titanic Letter Sells for Record Price at Auction in England

LONDON — A letter written by an American first-class passenger aboard the Titanic sold on Saturday at auction for 126,000 pounds, a record price for a note written by someone on the ill-fated ocean liner.

Alexander Oskar Holverson, a salesman, wrote the letter to his mother on April 13, 1912, on embossed Titanic stationery and tucked it away in his pocketbook. In it, Mr. Holverson describes a “giant” ship “fitted up like a palacial hotel.” He also mentions seeing the millionaire John Jacob Astor sitting on a deck of the vessel:

“He looks like any other human being even tho he has millions of money.”

In the most poignant mention, Mr. Holverson writes, “If all goes well we will arrive in New York Wednesday A.M.”

The next day, the British passenger ship hit an iceberg and eventually sank, killing more than 1,500 people.


Mr. Holverson and his wife, Mary, in an undated photograph.

Henry Aldridge & Son Auctioneers, via Associated Press

Mr. Holverson and his wife, Mary, had boarded the Titanic in Southampton, England, on their way back home to New York. She survived, but he did not. The letter was recovered, along with his body, and given to his mother, according to the Henry Aldridge & Son auction house in Devizes, England.

Although many of the words remain legible, the letter that sold for the equivalent of $153,000 is heavily water stained.

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