Cameras

Rare Titanic photo up for auction, offers glimpse into doomed liner's final days

The Titanic photograph (Henry Aldridge & Son).

The Titanic photograph (Henry Aldridge & Son).

A rare photograph of the Titanic, likely taken the day before she set sail on her fateful maiden voyage, is up for auction in the U.K.

The sepia image, which measures 18 inches x 11 inches, was probably taken on April 9 1912 at Titanic’s berth in Southampton, U.K., according to auction house Henry Aldridge & Son.

“The clarity and detail are astonishing,” explained Henry Aldridge & Son auctioneer Andrew Aldridge, in an email to Fox News. “It’s truly incredible and certainly the most detailed [Titanic photograph] I have seen.” The image, he noted, shows rappelling window cleaners and even a workman on a gantry touching up the paint work on Titanic’s hull.

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The photograph was purchased with other marine-related images in a Paris flea market over 40 years ago.

Given the incredible detail in the image, the photo was almost certainly captured on a glass-plate camera, according to Aldridge. An early camera technology, glass-plate devices capture images by exposing thin glass plates to light.

Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. ship's time on April 14 1912 and sank just over two hours later with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

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The photograph, which will be auctioned on April 22, has a pre-sale estimate of $6,208 to $9,933.

Henry Aldridge & Son is also auctioning an extremely rare gold medal that was awarded to Horace John Dean, first officer of the Carpathia, which rescued 705 survivors of the Titanic’s sinking on April 15, 1912. “Fourteen gold medals were awarded to the most senior crew members and only a handful have ever been sold, to our knowledge, at auction and none from such a senior Officer,” Aldridge explained, via email. “This is only the second one we have handled in over 25 years.”

The medal has a pre-sale estimate of $31,048 to $37,258.

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A number of artifacts from the doomed ship were auctioned in the U.K. last year with the sextant used by the captain of rescue ship Carpathia selling for just under $97,000. Three photos and a handwritten note detailing the grisly discovery of Titanic’s last lifeboat were sold for $6,800.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers