‘Facing slip’ from the Titanic postal service, $14,000 (£11,100) at Alex Cooper.

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They used ‘facing slips’ with printed headings for letters that were being sent to common destinations, franking them with a postmark recording the clerk, the ship and the date.

Those sent from Titanic are particularly sought after and understandaby rare. This example offered for sale at Alex Cooper Auctions (25/23% buyer’s premium) in Towson, Maryland, on January 27 is dated April 10, 1912 (five days before the ship sank) and carries the stamp of Oscar S Woody.

On the night of the wreck, Woody celebrated his 44th birthday with the four other clerks, the party cut short by the iceberg collision. They immediately began to haul the mail to the main deck to get it aboard the lifeboats. In the end, none of the mail was saved, and all of the clerks perished.

Woody’s body was recovered several days later, with a number of these Brooklyn, NY facing slips in his pockets.

On the market for the first time since being purchased at Matthew Bennett Philatelic Auctions in January 1970, it was estimated at $5000-8000 and sold at $14,000 (£11,100).