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New auction sale for note by Colne Titanic hero Wallace Hartley
THE only surviving letter written by Titanic hero Wallace Hartley is to be sold at auction for the second time in a year.
The letter from Wallace, who was 33 when he died in the disaster, to his parents, Albion and Elizabeth, will go under the hammer on Saturday.
Last April, the letter from the Colne bandmaster was sold at an auction in New Hampshire in the United States, for $186,000.
Campaigners from the Colne-based Titanic In Lancashire museum ran a fundraising campaign to try to bring the letter back to the town, but they were outbid at the auction.
The letter is written on adjoining sheets of on-board Titanic stationery with company watermark and is hand-dated by Wallace on April 10, 1912.
Wallace wrote: “Just a line to say we have got away all right. It’s been a bit of a rush but I am just getting a little settled.
“This is a fine ship and there ought to be plenty of money on her.
“I’ve missed coming home very much and it would have been nice to have seen you all if only for an hour or two, but I couldn't manage it.
“We have a fine band and the boys seem very nice.
“I have had to buy some linen and I sent my washing home today by post. I shall probably arrive home on the Sunday morning.
“We are due here on the Saturday. I’m glad mother’s foot is better.”
Hartley and his fellow band members cemented their place in Titanic folklore as they famously played on while the ship sank, with the loss of 1,517 lives.
On Saturday, the letter will be sold at Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes, Wiltshire.
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: “To say this letter is extremely rare would be a profound understatement for it is the only handwritten letter written by English violinist and Titanic band leader Wallace Hartley while on Titanic known to exist.
“We are unaware of any other surviving letter written by Hartley on board the ship.
“Clearly this letter which mentions the band and alludes to the wealth on-board the ship – implying that some of it would make its way to the band in the form of gratuities – elevates this letter to perhaps the most desirable and important on-board Titanic letter extant.”
A violin believed to have belonged to Hartley is also due to be sold at the same event. It is expected to fetch hundreds of thousands of pounds.
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