Titanic note home nets £50,000

A LETTER from a first-class passenger on the Titanic has fetched £55,000 at auction – a record price for a piece of written correspondence from the ship.

The piece was penned by Adolphe Saafeld, on three sides of stationery from the doomed vessel, to his "wifey".

His words give a rare glimpse into day-to-day life on the maiden voyage of the Titanic which sank on 15 April, 1912 taking 1,517 people with it.

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The letter was one of 350 lots of White Star Line memorabilia sold yesterday by auction firm Henry Aldridge & Son, in Devizes, Wiltshire.

The letter, composed five days before the disaster, was sold to an unidentified museum in Britain, which has yet to formally announce its purchase.

Explaining the appeal of the artefact, Andrew Aldridge said: "The content is superb. It gives a real first-person perspective of what life was like on board through the eyes of a first-class passenger, right down to the food, the size of the cabin and the decoration."

While other letters exist, this is the best example of its kind owing to the depth of its detail, he said.

Another star of the sale was a set of keys belonging to an officer transferred from the Titanic at the last minute, which fetched 54,000.

The keys – bearing a brass tag engraved "binocular box" – were kept by officer David Blair. Mr Blair sailed with the ship from Belfast to Southampton, but was moved to another ship at short notice, taking the keys with him – a move which may well have saved his life.