BOSTON – A letter written by Titanic survivor Lady Duff-Gordon sold on January 22, 2015, for $11,875, according to Boston-based RR Auction.
The three-page letter on two adjoining sheets is on her personal letterhead signed “Lucy Duff-Gordon,” and dated May 27, 1912.
The letter to a friend said: “How kind of you to send me a cable of sympathy from New
York on our safety. According to the way we’ve been treated by England on our return we didn’t seem to have done the right thing in being saved at all!!!! Isn’t it disgraceful.”
This poignant letter was composed during the British Wreck Commissioner’s inquiry into the sinking of the RMS Titanic; the inquiry took place from May 2-July 12, 1912.
Lady Duff-Gordon and her husband, Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, were rescued in lifeboat 1, which carried only 12 people despite having a capacity of 40. The couple subsequently testified at the British Inquiry into the sinking; they were the only passengers who were called to testify. The wealthy couple soon became a popular tabloid topic with allegations that Cosmo had bribed the crew to row away faster, rather than returning to rescue others; the press ultimately dubbed it the “Money Boat.”
The only passengers to participate in the inquiry’s hearings, it was deemed that the Duff-Gordons did not deter the crew from any attempt at rescue, but that the lifeboat might have been able to rescue others had it turned around.
Lady Duff-Gordon would later say that her husband was brokenhearted over the negative coverage for the rest of his life.
“We remain fascinated by the Titanic tragedy and will for years to come,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. “This letter reveals the sentiment of Lady Duff-Gordon for the harsh criticism the couple had received from the public and press.”
This article originally appeared in Antique Trader magazine
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Also sold during the auction, Johnny Ramone’s 1965 Mosrite Ventures Guitar, sold for $71,875, and a Jerry Garcia handwritten letter to a Vogue cover model sold for $32,500. Also, a Mary, Queen of Scots signed letter sold for $28,750, and a Titanic cup and saucer earned $13,750.
The Remarkable Rarities Auction from RR Auction took place January 22, 2015, at the Omni-Parker House in Boston, and contained nearly 150 items. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.