RMS Titanic mail room keys fetch record proceeds in United Kingdom auction.

April 30, 2007

The sale --- a record for Titanic memorabilia --- recalls the bravery of five postal clerks. Three of the clerks were from the U.S. Post Office and two from the Royal Mail. The ship's Postmaster was Oscar Scott Woody, a 15-year postal veteran and a railroad mail clerk before he began his service aboard the Titanic.

The 883-foot vessel was on its maiden voyage when it struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912. Woody and his crew, who were celebrating his birthday, rushed to the mail room in an ill-fated effort to move 400,000 letters to a higher deck. They were still hard at work when the ship slipped under the sea. None survived.

The keys were recovered from Woody's body and given to his widow. "The Postmaster and his staff were the creme de la creme," Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge told The Times of London. "To serve on a transatlantic steamer, you had to be in the top 1 percent of your profession because you had to sort through hundreds of letters per hour."

(Article submitted by Paul Petosky)


Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service