A photo of the iceberg that sank the doomed Titanic is being auctioned along with a never-before-seen first-person account of a person who spotted the iceberg the day after it was hit by the Titanic cruise ship. A steward on the steamer Prinz Adalbert described seeing the iceberg which he noted as having a “red scrape” on the side which appeared to be paint from a vessel. The photograph of the iceberg, along with the hand-written account, is being auctioned for an estimated $15,000 to $23,000 at the Wiltshire auction house.
The Daily Mail reports that a never-before-seen written account about the iceberg that sank the Titanic is up for sale along with a photograph of the iceberg itself. The items have been in the possession of the Burlingham maritime law office and were hanging in the lawyers’ board room until they went out of business in 2002. It was noted that multiple iceberg photographs have been in circulation that purportedly show the iceberg responsible for sinking the doomed Titanic. However, with the first-person account attached to the Burlingham’s photograph, the soon-to-be auctioned photograph is the most likely candidate.
The 1955 book A Night to Remember, by author Walter Lord, is regarded as the most definitive book regarding the Titanic disaster. When writing the book, Lord contacted the law office of Burlingham, Montgomery & Beecher. The lawyers were a go-to source as they were the lawyers acting on behalf of the White Star Line, which owned the Titanic. Therefore, the law firm had numerous documents regarding the sinking of the ship. One such item was the photograph and first-person account of the iceberg taken by a steward simply referred to as M Linoenewald on the Prinz Adalbert steam ship.
The steward noted that they passed the iceberg the day after the Titanic met its demise; however, at the time of passing the iceberg they had not yet learned of the Titanic’s fate. The steward noted something unusual about the iceberg; it had a large “red scrape” running along the side that made it appear as though a vessel had struck it at some point. The first-person account was hand-written and signed by Linoenewald along with three other crew members. After learning the fate of the Titanic, the steward submitted the letter and the photograph to the law firm.
“On the day after the sinking of the Titanic, the steamer Prinz Adalbert passes the iceberg shown in this photograph. The Titanic disaster was not yet known by us. On one side red paint was plainly visible, which has the appearance of having been made by the scraping of a vessel on the iceberg. SS Prinz Adalbert Hamburg America Line.”
After looking at all the purported photographs of the icebergs, Lord ended up using the Burlingham photograph in his official book with the caption “The iceberg that sank Titanic?”. The lawyers had the photograph hanging in the board room for nearly 100 years and it was always referred to as “the Titanic iceberg.”
Though the photograph has been circulated in Lord’s A Night to Remember, the first-person account of spotting the iceberg has been all but unknown, until now. Andrew Aldridge, of Henry Aldridge and Son, notes that the photograph is special in that it is accompanied by the first-person account.
“The strength of this photograph of an iceberg lies in the fact that it was used by Burlingham for their liability hearing and that it is accompanied by this contemporary account by someone who was there.”
The photograph and handwritten note are now headed to auction at the Wiltshire auction house and is expected to fetch $15,000 to $23,000 from bidders.
[Image Credit: Henry Aldridge and Sons via Daily Mail]