MELBOURNE, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- A rare parcel label addressed to the doomed ocean liner Titanic is set to be sold at auction, with the bids beginning at $15,000.
The small, graying label is addressed to the Marconi wireless operator aboard the ship and dated April 11, 1912. It was never delivered because three nights later, on April 14, the "unsinkable" ship hit an iceberg and sunk, killing 1,503 aboard. Among those who died was the wireless operator, Jack Phillips. He had stayed at his post sending SOS messages until the ship lost power.
The label is believed to have been affixed to a package of blank telegram forms. It had been given to the first officer on the Titanic's sister ship, Olympic. The first officer on the Olympic was supposed to deliver the package to the Titanic once it reached New York.
The Olympic first officer is thought to have given the label to an unnamed family as a souvenir after the Titanic sinking, but it eventually wound up in the hands of a private collector.
Gary Watson, an expert at Mossgreen auctioneers, said it is one of the most evocative postal items associated with the ship. It is being sold with photographs of wireless equipment and of Alec Bagot, the wireless operator on the Olympic. It is expected to sell for $20,000.