'Most Important Letter Written on Titanic' to Be Sold

It was recovered from a doomed passenger's body
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2017 6:57 PM CDT
'Most Important Letter Written on Titanic' to Be Sold
The letter is shown in a photo provided by the auction house, Henry Aldridge & Son.   (Henry Aldridge & Son)

Alexander Oskar Holverson penned a letter to his mother on Titanic stationery on April 13, 1912, apparently intending to mail it upon the doomed ship's arrival in New York. Instead, the saltwater-stained letter was found in a pocketbook when the first-class passenger's body was recovered from the Atlantic after the ship sank. It was initially returned to his family (his wife survived the voyage), but on Saturday, it will be auctioned off in the UK for an estimated $79,031 to $105,375, Fox News reports. An auctioneer at Henry Aldridge & Son calls the letter "the most important letter written on board Titanic ever to come to market," partially because it contains observations—like Holverson mentioning he saw another first-class passenger, the famous businessman John Jacob Astor, sitting out on the deck—not seen in previous letters.

Holverson was able to make those observations because, as a first-class passenger, he "had access passengers in other classes did not," the auctioneer says. (His observation of Astor: The businessman, who ultimately died in the disaster, "looks like any other human being even tho he has millions of money.") The auction house's listing for the letter notes that "as [Holverson's mother] received [the letter] after the ship foundered, this may be the only on-board letter written by a victim and delivered to its recipient without postage to date." It is also one of the last known letters to have survived the disaster, and the last known letter written by a victim on board. It is four pages long and, among other things, describes the food and entertainment aboard the ship. "This boat is giant in size and fitted up like a palatial hotel," Holverson wrote. "If all goes well we will arrive in New York Wednesday AM." (More Titanic stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.