According to its auctioneer, the faded, 9.75 x 8-inch photo was taken two days before the Titanic sank by the captain of the S.S. Estonian, another steamship. Experts confirmed the photo’s authenticity after checking its distance from the wreckage and comparing it to sketches by two Titanic crew members, including the quasi-infamous lookout Frederick Fleet.
Collectors have only a few more weeks to cash in on the 100-year-old tragedy. Over the weekend, two menus from the Titanic sold for a combined $160,450, according to auctioneer Henry Aldridge & Son. (Among the noms: foie gras-stuffed eggs, lobster and Sussex capon.) In April, a 5,500-piece collection of Titanic artifacts and property rights, including White Star Line china, passengers’ jewelry and sovereign possession of the wreck itself, went on the auction block at Guernsey’s in New York. Guernsey’s appraised the collection at a titanic $189 million.
That isn’t to say the mania will end with the ship’s centennial — there’s a reason National Geographic Museum named its Titanic exhibit the “100 Year Obsession.” More than three dozen Titanic-themed books came out in April, according to the New Yorker. In the Guardian, Stuart Heritage writes that every conceivable strain of Titanic TV show, from a Julian Fellowes mini-series to a commemorative concert, clogged Britain’s airwaves to mark the ship’s centennial. Even this latest photo goes to auction with another 400 artifacts.
It is, so to speak, just the tip of the iceberg.