London: A rare Titanic deck plan that was owned by an elderly couple in first class who died when the doomed liner sank, is all set to fetch 50,000 pounds at an auction.
Ida and Isidore Straus, to whom the plan belonged, drowned side by side after Mrs Straus refused a place on a lifeboat to remain with her husband and according to witnesses, the plan’s owners sat on deckchairs and held hands until they were washed into the sea as the ship sank, the Daily Mail reported.
The deck plans were only handed out to the 324 first class passengers when they arrived on the ship in Southampton on 10th April, 1912 and it is believed that only three of them from the ship exist today, with two in private collections and this one now on the open market.
The plan was in the possession of the Straus’ maid, Ellen Bird, who survived the disaster in which 1,495 people were lost and she kept hold of the 41x29in document for the rest of her life, which has now been put up for auction by the current private owner.
The delicate piece of tissue paper has remained in one piece over the last 99 years despite its age and fragile condition and has been given a pre-sale estimate of between 40,000 to 50,000 pounds.
The deck plan, that folds down to a booklet, is headed “White Star Line, Southampton-Cherbourg-New York Service, First Class Accommodation”, and its reverse shows the layout of the top five decks that made up the first class accommodation and facilities like the restaurants, swimming baths, gymnasium and squash courts.
Each room is numbered in red ink and the plan is incredibly detailed, marking out the beds, washbasins and wardrobes inside.
Pencilled notations made by Miss Bird, who marked with a cross her suit of C97 which was next door to the suite occupied by John Farthing -Mr Straus`` man servant who died in the disaster, still exist on the plan.
The plan also includes several printed photos of some of the onboard facilities as well as a list of them and directions and instructions for the passengers.