An Early Hand-Drawn Architectural Map of the Titanic—Measuring 32 Feet Long—Just Sold for $240,000 at Auction

The cross-section still shows chalk marks from the investigation into how the ship sank.

The plan used in the British Titanic inquiry. Image: courtesy Henry Aldridge and Son Ltd

An architectural plan of the Titanic that was used as part of the inquiry into the ship’s sinking sold for more than $240,000 at Henry Aldridge and Son in Wiltshire, U.K.

Weeks after the world’s largest ship sank in 1912, the British Board of Trade began an investigation to better understand the reasons behind the disaster. The 32-foot hand-drawn plan was suspended by cables from the railing of the ladies’ gallery so that everyone could see it as witnesses and experts referred to it during the inquiry.

The plan, which was created by naval architects department of White Star Line, the Liverpool-headquartered operator of the Titanic, allowed the 96 witnesses that were called during the month-long investigation to indicate relevant parts of the ship. It still bears original green and red chalk marks illustrating where ice was believed to have penetrated the ship. The investigation would conclude that excessive speed caused the disaster.

The cross-section plan was previously bought by a collector in 2011 for more than $270,000—then a record for Titanic memorabilia—and has been on display since 2012 at Titanic Belfast, a memorial museum on the site where the ship was built . During its time at the museum, the plan has undergone an extensive process of archival stabilization.

Oscar Scott Woody’s pocket watch. Courtesy of Henry Aldridge.

The sale included a range of other maritime memorabilia, including a mural from the RMS Queen Mary, which sold for $68,000.

“We were delighted with the auction, the prices reflect the rarity of the material offered for auction but also the enduring appeal of the Titanic story,” said Andrew Aldridge, an auctioneer at Henry Aldridge and Son. “She sank 111 years ago but the memory of those passengers and crew lives on through the memorabilia.”

Henry Aldridge and Son has become something of a specialist for selling Titanic memorabilia. It holds the world record for the most valuable item of Titanic memorabilia sold at auction, a $1.4 million violin once owned by Wallace Hartley, the Titanic’s bandleader. It also sold a gilded pocket watch that survived the sinking of the  Titanic for $116,000 last year.

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