Auction Date:2012 Dec 16 @ 10:00 (UTC-5 : EST/CDT)
Location:5 Rt 101A Suite 5, Amherst, New Hampshire, 03031, United States
Senior wireless operator on board the Titanic and one of the true heroes of the disaster. As the Titanic was sinking, Phillips worked tirelessly to send wireless messages to other ships to enlist their assistance with the rescue of the Titanic's passengers and crew. 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. After abandoning ship when water flooded around his feet, he ended up on an overturned collapsable lifeboat where he later died of exposure to the severe cold. 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 this time. This card, however, holds particular significance as it was written on April 6, 1912 while Titanic was docked in Southampton, and contains an image of the ship. Phillips often chose postcards which depicted the ship on which he served, yet only four of the 300 postcards retained by Elsie had any relation to Titanic—and only one, this one, illustrated the ship. 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).
ALS - Autograph Letter Signed
ANS - Autograph Note Signed
AQS - Autograph Quotation Signed
AMQS - Autograph Musical Quotation Signed
DS - Document Signed
FDC - First Day Cover
Inscribed - “Personalized”
ISP - Inscribed Signed Photograph
LS - Letter Signed
SP - Signed Photograph
TLS - Typed Letter Signed