Lot 296: Jack Phillips

RR Auction

2015-08-21 10:51:55

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Lot 296: Extremely rare ALS signed "Love all, Jack," on a 5.5 x 3.25 photo postcard of the Titanic at Southampton by Will Steed, April 6, 1912. Postcard to Miss Elsie Phillips. In full: "Thanks very much for your letter. Having glorious weather, went to Cowes yesterday. Will write later before we sail." Phillips has added in the address panel, "Miss Elsie Phillips, 11 Farncombe St., Godalming." In very good to fine condition, with some light soiling and toning, date stamp over a couple letters of text, a few light bends and corner tip bumps. Image side shows postal impressions, a bit of light silvering and rubbing, and creasing to lower right side.John George 'Jack' Phillips turned 25 on board the Titanic. Despite his youth, he was a well-seasoned telegraphist, having learned his trade while working for the post office in 1906. He had served on numerous vessels for the Marconi Company before being assigned to Titanic as Chief Radio Officer. As the ship was sinking, he worked tirelessly to contact other ships to enlist their help with the rescue of the Titanic's passengers and crew. It was not until water flooded around his feet that he finally evacuated, ending up on an overturned collapsable lifeboat where he would soon die of exposure. Harold Bride, Titanic's junior wireless operator, always remembered Phillips as 'the man who saved us all.'During his career, Phillips kept in frequent touch with his sister, Elsie, and she saved almost 300 postcards he sent to her during his travels. This card depicting the ship holds particular significance as it was written on April 6, 1912, while Titanic was docked in Southampton. Phillips often chose postcards of the ships on which he served, yet only four of the 300 retained by Elsie had any relation to Titanic—and only one, this one, illustrated the ship itself. Add to that the direct reference to the upcoming voyage and this is a remarkable item in every sense.Provenance: Ex Ken Schultz Collection; The Mariners' Museum, Newport News Virginia (1998); p. 81 Titanic: Fortune & Fate by Beverly McMillan and Stanley Lehrer (Simon & Schuster 1998). RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 460 Wednesday, 16th September 2015 Estimate: $20000-30000
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