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Titanic passenger’s letter to be auctioned in Uruguay

A letter written by a Uruguayan passenger on the Titanic will go on auction in Montevideo next week with a starting price of $12,000, an auction house has announced. The Titanic continues to inspire intrigue to this day, with a frantic search now under way for a tourist submersible that went missing Sunday on its way to see the wreck nearly four kilometers below the surface of the North Atlantic.

The Titanic hit an iceberg and sank in 1912 during its maiden voyage from England to New York with 2,224 passengers and crew on board. More than 1,500 people died. The wreck was found in 1985. The letter to be auctioned on June 30, was written by 71-year-old businessman Ramon Artagaveytia Gomez (1840-1912) to his brother Adolfo on two pages, one of them covered in writing on both sides.

It was sent from Queenstown, Ireland, on the transatlantic cruise ship’s last mainland mail stop just four days before the sinking, according to the Zorilla auction house. In the moisture-stained missive, Artagaveytia Gomez marvels at his opulent first class surroundings, writing: “everything is new and rich.” The letter included a handwritten note added by the recipient: “The last letter that my dear brother Ramon wrote.”

The letter should sell for between $15,000 and $25,000, according to Zorilla. It will be sold with other historic items that include artifacts from another vessel sunk in the Atlantic: The Nazi battleship Admiral Graf Spee. The Graf Spee’s captain, Hans Langsdorff, scuttled the battleship — one of the Third Reich’s largest — on Dec 17, 1939, following the Battle of the River Plate, off the coast of Montevideo. The Nazi warship was used to attack commercial vessels in the Atlantic until it was intercepted by two British cruisers and one from the New Zealand navy. The auction items include a pair of battleship binoculars and a crewmember’s dress jacket. – AFP

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