Auctioneers expect rare Titanic launch ticket to sell for £25k
An unused ticket for the launch of the Titanic - described as an "exceptional piece of Belfast history" - is expected to fetch up to £25,000 at auction.
The "extremely rare" ticket would have been presented for admission to watch the ship slide down the ways as she first took to the sea.
News of its sale comes ahead of the 106th anniversary of the disaster. More than 1,500 passengers and crew died when the Titanic struck an iceberg in 1912.
Auctioneers said the ticket is just "one of a handful" to have survived complete with its stub and describe it as a "truly exceptional" piece of history.
The ticket, measuring three inches by five inches, is numbered 1,246 and is for the launch in Belfast at 12.15pm on May 31, 1911.
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge, of Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, said: "This is a truly exceptional piece of Titanic and Belfast history.
"The ticket represents the genesis for Titanic collectors, the launch of a ship is one of the first major events in a ship's life and these tickets are exceptionally rare.
"What takes this example to a different level is its number so it's one of literally a handful of examples known today."
A publicity booklet for the Titanic will also be sold at the auction on April 21. It is expected to fetch up to £8,000.
The brochure, bound with cord, contains five sepia plates of the liner's first class areas including a parlour suite, Turkish bath, a cafe and restaurants.
"This is one of, if not the, rarest type of Titanic brochure known," Mr Aldridge said.
"It focuses on the most exclusive areas of the ship.
"It is clearly aimed at first-class passengers and gives us a glimpse of the opulence in these first class areas."
The Titanic sank on the night of April 14 through to the morning of April 15, 1912, in the Atlantic Ocean, four days into the ship's maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.
The largest passenger liner in service at the time, Titanic had an estimated 2,224 people on board when she struck an iceberg at around 11.40pm.
Edward John Smith was the captain of the ship.
A memorial service will be held in the Titanic Memorial Garden at City Hall on Sunday to mark the anniversary.