Artifacts from Titanic and other oceanliners to be sold

Letters from survivors of the Titanic and a deck log from one of the ships are just some of the items for sale at an upcoming auction of oceanliner memorabilia.

The 18 Titanic lots are scheduled to go on the auction block on Thursday at Christie's.

The deck log from cable ship S.S. MacKay-Bennett, the second rescue ship on the scene after the R.M.S. Carpathia, has a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 (22,320 EUR) to $40,000 (29,760 EUR). Christie's has billed the log as the most significant artifact from a rescue ship ever offered for sale.

S.S. MacKay-Bennett was the first of four ships chartered by the White Star Line to search for bodies after the Titanic, carrying more than 2,000 passengers, hit an iceberg that destroyed it. The chief embalmer from Nova Scotia's largest undertaking firm was stationed onboard the MacKay-Bennett to oversee the operation.

After seven days of searching, 306 bodies were recovered - almost twice as many as the number of available caskets.

Also for sale is the Titanic's first-class passenger list, which includes such prominent New York family names as the Astors, Guggenheims and Strauses. It has a pre-sale estimate of $15,000 (11,160 EUR) to $20,000 (14,880 EUR).

An original eight-page handwritten account of one survivor, Laurie Marie Cribb, a third-class passenger from Newark, New Jersey, is expected to bring $10,000 (7,440 EUR) to $15,000 (11,160 EUR). She was rescued by the R.M.S. Carpathia - but her father perished.

Written shortly after the disaster, Cribb describes how she watched the lights go out on the ship followed by the "most terrible shrieks and groans from the helpless and doomed passengers who were left on the wreck of the great ship."

The sale also offers recovered artifacts from another famous shipwrecked luxury liner, the Andrea Doria. The Italian oceanliner was speeding toward New York on a trans-Atlantic crossing in 1956 when it collided with a passenger ship and sank, killing 46 people. The shipwreck lies on the bottom of the ocean floor south of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Other oceanliner memorabilia in the sale includes original shipping posters, ship models and paintings.

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