Letter Written Aboard the Titanic Fetches $166,000 at Auction

Titanic
(Henry Aldridge & Son/Getty)

A letter written mere hours before the Titanic sank has fetched a tidy sum at a British auction house.

On embossed Titanic stationery, first-class passenger Alexander Oskar Holverson hand wrote a letter to his mother the day before the ship that was thought to be invincible struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank, killing more than 1,500 people.

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Holverson, a Minnesota-born salesman, was among the victims.

In the letter, Holverson described the ship that would become his coffin as "a giant in size and fitted up like a palatial hotel."

"The food and drink is excellent," Holverson wrote. 

The letter, which still retains the saltwater stains from April 13, 1912, eerily echoes the jubilant moments that preceded the historic tragedy. 

"John Jacob Astor is on this ship," he said of the richest man of his day. "He looks like any other human being even though he has millions of money. They sit out on deck with the rest of us."

In perhaps the saddest line of all, Holverson writes: "If all goes well we will arrive in New York Wednesday A.M." 

That arrival, of course, never came.

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While Holverson perished, his wife, Mary Alice, managed to survive. The letter her husband wrote is believed to be one of the last known to have survived the sinking. 

The auction house Henry Aldridge & Son, which specializes in Titanic memorabilia, called the letter "the most important Titanic letter we have ever auctioned."