Titanic survivor's letter sells for almost $12,000

Lady Lucy Duff Gordon survived the doomed voyage with her husband - but doubts about the circumstances of their rescue were raised afterwards

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The Independent US

A letter from a British aristocratic fashion designer who survived the sinking of the Titanic has been sold for almost $12,000 at auction.

Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon and her husband, Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon, were among the estimated 705 survivors from the 1912 disaster but their escape proved controversial after it was claimed Sir Cosmo had bribed sailors on board the lifeboat not to return to the ship.

The prominent fashion designer and her Scottish baronet husband managed to board lifeboat 1, later infamously dubbed the “money boat”, along with 10 others.

Despite the boat’s capacity for 40 people, the craft did not return to the choppy waters where hundreds were frantically treading water.

In the recently sold letter, which eventually went for $11,875, Lady Duff Gordon wrote: "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?"

Lady Duff Gordon's letter

Approximately 1,500 people died in the ship’s maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, when she struck an iceberg and sank.

A British inquiry, conducted by the British Wreck Commissioner, later ruled that claims that the couple bribed their way onto the boat were unfounded.

RR Auction, which sold the letter, and regularly handles Titanic memorabilia expected the letter to fetch only $6,000 after bidding started online on Thursday.

“We remain fascinated by the Titanic tragedy and will for years to come,” Bobby Livingston, RR Auction’s chief executive vice-president yesterday.