A letter written by a Scottish Baptist pastor who drowned when the Titanic crashed into an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean in 1912 is being auctioned for $38,000 and could fetch up to $65,000.
The handwritten letter was sent by John Harper, a 39-year-old minister who was traveling from London to Chicago with his sister and 6-year-old daughter to preach at Moody Church.
According to the contents of the letter, Harper was writing to another minister, Pastor Young of Paisley Road Baptist Church, thanking him for his help before Harper’s departure.
“My dear brother Young, I am penning you this line just before we get to Queenstown to assure you that I have not forgotten you and especially all your kindness while we were north,” the letter begins.
“We had a great season of blessing during the last few days in Walworth. I don’t know how I am to thank dear Aunty Mary and yourself for all your kindness. The Lord will repay you for it all. Trust things are going well at Paisley Road.”
The letter was dated April 11, 1912, three days before the boat sank to the bottom of the ocean. It was sent from Queenstown, Ireland.
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge of Henry Aldridge & Son told Fox News that Harper’s sister and daughter were put on lifeboats while he stayed on board and gave his life jacket to another passenger.
Aldridge said that according to contemporary accounts, “Harper preached the Gospel to the end, first aboard the sinking ship and then afterward to those in the freezing water” before drowning in the open sea.
During a gathering of survivors four years after the tragic accident, a man claimed he was saved by Harper right before he was rescued by a lifeboat.
“I am the last convert of John Harper,” the unnamed witness announced.
Harper’s historic letter is being sold by a private collector through Henry Aldridge & Son Ltd auction house on Nov. 14 with a pre-sale estimate of $38,850 to $64,750.
According to the New York Post, a sea-stained letter recovered from the body of a Titanic victim was sold at auction for $166,000 in 2017.
A year prior, the sextant used by the captain of the rescue ship Carpathia sold for just under $97,000. In 2015, a cup that Titanic survivor Molly Brown presented to the Carpathia captain sold for $200,000.
And on Oct. 26, a limited edition Romain Jerome watch made from metal from the Titanic was put up for auction. While it’s selling price has yet to be announced, it listed a pre-sale estimate of between $4,600 and $7,200.