Titanic letter sells for a record £55,000

Titanic History Made Again – A letter from a first-class passenger on board the ill-fated Titanic has been sold at auction for £55,000.

It fetched a record price for a piece of written correspondence from the ship, which sailed from Southampton in April 1912.

The letter, written on three sides of stationery, is penned by Adolphe Saafeld and is addressed to his “wifey”.

The letter in the auction was placed in the mail from Southhampton, England just prior to the ship’s departure on April 10 for its never-completed trans-Atlantic crossing to New York City.  It was sold to an unidentified British museum at an auction in Wiltshire.

The letter was written five days before the ship sank on 15 April and gives an insight into life on the maiden voyage of the Titanic.

It was one of 350 lots of White Star Line memorabilia sold on Saturday by Henry Aldridge and Son auctioneers in Devizes, Wiltshire.

Andrew Aldridge, from the auction house, said: “The content is superb.

“It gives a real first-person perspective of what life was like onboard, through the eyes of a first-class passenger, right down to the food, the size of the cabin and the decoration.”

He said it was the best letter of its kind, due to its depth of detail.

In it, Mr Saafeld writes about the smoothness of the journey, and describes eating a “luncheon” of soup, plaice, a loin chop with cauliflower and fried potatoes “washed down with a large Spaten beer iced”.

He also writes about a near-collision with a ship called New York, which was averted by “our stopping & our tugs coming to the rescue of the ‘New York’.”

Also sold at the auction was a set of keys kept by an officer who transferred from the Titanic before it left Southampton, which fetched £54,000.

The keys would have been stored in a box on the ship’s bridge but the officer was moved to another ship at short notice and took the keys with him.

A set of photographs relating to the Titanic, her passengers and crew were sold to various collectors for more than £100,000.

One picture, of Rosa Abbott, who was pulled from the water after the ship sank, fetched £35,000 and was bought by a private collector.

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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