The ticket stub from a VIP ticket to watch the launch of the Titanic was sold for over $19,000 (£15,000) in auction last week.
The ticket allowed the bearer to enter a specially designated enclosure at the launch of the famous ship in Belfast, before it embarked on its trip to Southampton and its maiden journey to New York.
This particular stub belonged to a secretary at Harland and Wolff, the Belfast ship makers who constructed the Titanic, named Charlotte Irwin.
At the time of the launch the 20-year-old Irwin worked in the drafting office for the Belfast-based company and was offered the opportunity to join other employees in the executive box on May 31, 1911, giving her a perfect view of the Titanic sliding down the slipway into the water for the first time.
Irwin chose to keep the ticket, marked No 116, as a souvenir of the remarkable day in the history of Harland and Wolff, little thinking that its significance would soon greatly increase when the Titanic became the most famous shipwreck ever.
On the stub can be read, “TITANIC Launch,” below which it says, “To be retained for admission to Stand.”
In addition, several notes on the history of the ship are written on the back of the stub, quoting the dates of its launch and departure date and also of its sinking and the number of people who died on board
The script reads: “Launched 31st May 1911. Left Belfast 2nd April 1912. Sailed on her maiden voyage 10th April 1912. Struck an iceberg at 11.45 on 14th April 1912 Sank with the loss of over 1,000 lives at 2.20am 15th April 1912.”
The tragic RMS Titanic was designed and constructed at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. It took 26 months to build the great liner
In 2012, the Titanic Building, the world’s largest and most comprehensive Titanic visitor experience and a museum on Belfast’s maritime history, was opened in its memory. It quickly became one of Belfast's and Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions.
Last year plans were also announced to turn the office where Charlotte Irwin may have worked into a hotel.
Early in the last century, the Harland and Wolff headquarters and drawing offices on Queen’s Island, Belfast, was the control center for one of the largest shipyards in the world.
At the time the Titanic was built, the shipbuilding industry was at its zenith. In its heyday, Harland and Wolff employed thousands of men and the shipyard covered nearly 300 acres.
However, the shipbuilding industry declined in the 1950s and the headquarters building has remained vacant since 1989. The empty building will now be transformed into an 84-bedroom.
The ticket stub was purchased by a private collector in Britain through the auction organized by Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire.