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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 April 2006, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
'World record' at Titanic auction
Helen Churchill Candee's locket
Mrs Churchill Candee gave her locket to a friend as she had no pockets
A collection of memorabilia from the Titanic is believed to have broken a world record at auction.

Among more than 370 lots in the sale in Wiltshire was a miniature portrait retrieved from the ocean, which sold for 58,000.

It was said to be a world record price for a piece of Titanic memorabilia.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge did not confirm the total amount raised at the sale but said it was "a substantial six-figure sum".

The portrait belonged to passenger Helen Churchill Candee, who was travelling to the US to see her son.

'Courage' of passengers

The American authoress gave the 19th Century gilt miniature of her mother to a friend as the ship was sinking because she had no pockets.

The sale also included letters and telegrams relating to Mrs Churchill Candee and her unique 36-page hand written account of the disaster in April 1912, which sold for 47,000.

The text describe the events leading up to her handing over the miniature and a silver flask to Edward Kent.

She says how she found him as people donned lifejackets and heading for the lifeboats, each with "a pale face of courage".

The flask fetched over 30,000, while a letter from first class passenger Stanley May sold for 22,000.

'Individual tales'

Following Saturday's sale, Mr Aldridge said: "The fascination with the Titanic I think is that there is the one big story that a ship hits an iceberg and sinks.

"But then there are also over 2,000 people on that ship, men, women and children, who all had their individual tales too."

Titanic was regarded as unsinkable, and her passengers included British nobility, American industrialists and many poor emigrants hoping to start a new life in the US or Canada.

The ship sank in the Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 on her maiden voyage to New York, killing 1,521 people.

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