Two letters from Titanic passengers are to be auctioned in New York this month, one of them featuring an excited description of the doomed ship just moments before setting sail.
Letters on White Star Lines stationary inscribed with "On board RMS Titanic" are "extremely rare and are among the most prized artifacts from the disaster," said Robert Litzenberger, a specialist at Spink Smythe auction house.
The letters are expected to sell January 16 for 10,000 dollars to 20,000 dollars each, he said. The items will be offered in New York and online by Spink Smythe.
In one letter, businessman Adolphe Saalfeld penned a hurried note to his wife just before the Titanic left Southampton on her 1912 maiden voyage, sinking with the loss of some 1,500 lives after hitting a north Atlantic iceberg.
"I just had an hours roaming abt (about) on this wonderful boat ... I like my cabin very much. It is like a bed-sitting room and rather large. I am the first man to write a letter on board. They are still busy to finish the last touches onboard," he wrote.
Saalfeld survived the sinking in lifeboat number three, which was crammed mostly with women and children.
The other letter was written by George Graham, a department store salesman, who perished.
In a letter sent just before embarking, he apologized to a business associate that he had been too busy to make contact earlier: "I hope that you will accept my good wishes now even if they are a bit late. I hope to see you next year."