For reasons that should be apparent (see: iceberg), artifacts from the R.M.S. Titanic are extremely rare. Some objects that belonged to survivors have ended up in museums, while other items from the wreckage, including clothing that belonged to passengers who died on the ship's maiden voyage, have been auctioned off (nearly 5500 appeared in a single auction in 2012). Today, Lion Heart Autographs kicked off an auction that includes three rare Titanic finds from survivors accused of bribing their way onto Lifeboat No. 1.
The artifacts include a ticket to the ship’s Turkish Baths’ weighing chair, a menu from the last lunch served on the ship, and a letter from Laura Mabel Francatelli to fellow survivor Abraham Salomon.
The passengers in the lifeboat opted not to return to rescue those stranded in the freezing water after the ship sank, despite the fact that the boat had a 40-person capacity and held just 12 people (seven crewmembers plus Francatelli, her employer Lucy Duff-Gordon and husband Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, businessman Charles Stengel, and Salomon). Their decision not to return, and the accusations of bribery, led to an investigation that Francatelli references in her letter to Salomon.
"We do hope you have now quite recovered from the terrible experience," Francatelli wrote. "I am afraid our nerves are still bad, as we had such trouble & anxiety added to our already awful experience by the very unjust inquiry when we arrived in London. Lady Gordon’s mother is with us and she would so much like to meet you being one who shared our boat. Kindest regards. Yours sincerely…"