Titanic postcard fails to launch at Warwick auction

Ralph and Stephen Wilkes with the postcard.
Ralph and Stephen Wilkes with the postcard.

A postcard written on the Titanic failed to sell at an auction in Warwick today (Wednesday) despite worldwide publicity.

The lot was at an auction hosted by Warwick & Warwick Ltd at the Court House in Jury Street on Wednesday (July 18). Ralph Wilkes, known as John, and his brother Stephen Wilkes submitted the postcard to the auctioneers on behalf of the family.

Ralph said: “We found the postcard in our mother’s house in Birmingham, when we were going through everything after she died. The postcard was sent to our grandmother’s cousin, Ellen Green, known as Nell, by Sarah Daniels – they were friends. Our mother was looking after it on behalf of the family as she was the oldest and she never got around to selling it.”

The message, in pencil, says: “I wish you were here, it is a lovely boat & it would do you good. Am just going on deck.” The card is signed “Fisgig”, the nickname used by Sarah who survived the disaster.

It also has the circular datestamp of April 11 1912, of Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, the port where mail written on board was posted.

The lot description said that Sarah was employed as a maid to the Allison family of Montreal, Canada. She travelled on “Titanic” in 1st class with the family consisting of Hudson and Bessie Allison, their two infant children, Lorraine and Trevor and the children’s nurse, Alice Cleaver.

Prior to boarding the “Titanic” Sarah had been staying in Birmingham with her friend, Nell Green. When the ship hit the iceberg Sarah decided that something was wrong and went out to investigate. She was unable to convince Hudson Allison or Alice Cleaver to join her, or that there was any danger. She left the boat on lifeboat eight. The Allison family perished with the exception of baby Trevor, who was saved by his nursemaid, Alice Cleaver.

The reserve price for the postcard was £10,000 but it failed to sell.

Ralph said: “It is a bit disappointing that it didn’t sell as we thought it would given the amount of advertising and being in the news globally. We shall be back.”

Colin Such, director and senior postcard valuer at Warwick & Warwick, said: “It is disappointing not to see it sell.

“We previously sold a similar card in 2002 for close to £9,000.”

It is hoped that the lot might get some interest in the next few days and it could reappear in an auction in the future,