A postcard which was written thirty-six hours after the Titanic sunk was auctioned in London in 2023 by an anonymous collector.

The historic postcard, which describes how the White Star RMS Titanic, was written at 5 pm on April 16, 1912, and was sent at 7 pm that evening, 36 hours after the ship sank. Written in Bedford, close to Southampton, the postcard describes how the Titanic had "gone to the bottom".

Believed to be the earliest postcard to mention the disaster after the Titanic sank, the piece of history was auctioned at the London-based auction house Charles Miller, on April 25th, 2023. The Press Association reported that an unnamed collector in England owned the postcard and wanted others to see it. 

The anonymous collector told the PA "The sinking of the Titanic was such a significant and tragic event.

"I am hoping that the postcard will be bought by a museum or by someone who will display it to the general public so that it can be generally appreciated, rather than housed in a private collection where few people will see it."

A maritime specialist Charles Miller said "It is fascinating to see this correspondence, which was sent so soon after the Titanic slipped beneath the waves.

"It is likely that the sender was involved in shipping, as it is intriguing to read that White Star Line was heavily reliant on the newspapers for their information as to what had occurred."

News of the Titanic disaster

The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 was one of the most devastating maritime disasters in history. The tragedy resulted in the loss of over 1,500 lives and left an indelible mark on the world. As news of the sinking spread, it gripped people across the globe and became one of the most widely covered events in history. In this article, we will explore how the news of the Titanic sinking spread around the world.

The Titanic, a luxury ocean liner touted as "unsinkable," set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912. Four days later, on the night of April 14, the ship struck an iceberg and began to sink. The disaster unfolded over the next several hours, with lifeboats being launched and passengers and crew members struggling to survive in the freezing Atlantic waters.

The first news of the Titanic sinking came in the form of wireless messages sent from the ship itself. The Titanic was equipped with a Marconi wireless system, and as the ship began to take on water, its operators sent out a series of distress signals. These signals were picked up by other ships in the vicinity, including the Carpathia, which was the first vessel to arrive on the scene and rescue survivors.

As news of the disaster spread, newspapers around the world began to report on the sinking. In the United States, the New York Times ran a front-page story on April 16, 1912, with the headline "Titanic Sinks Four Hours After Hitting Iceberg; 866 Rescued By Carpathia, Probably 1,250 Perish; Ismay Safe, Mrs. Astor Maybe, Noted Names Missing." The story detailed the events of the sinking and the efforts to rescue survivors.

In Europe, newspapers also covered the disaster extensively. The London Times ran a series of articles on the Titanic sinking, including a front-page story on April 16 with the headline "Greatest Liner Afloat Sinks." The article described the ship as a "marvel of luxury" and detailed the events leading up to the disaster.

News of the Titanic sinking also spread to other parts of the world, including Australia and New Zealand. The Sydney Morning Herald ran a front-page story on April 17 with the headline "Titanic Tragedy: 1,503 Lives Lost." The article described the sinking as "one of the most appalling disasters in the history of the world's shipping."

* Originally published in April 2023 updated in April 2024.