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Lot 241: **R.M.S. TITANIC - EXTREMELY RARE CUSTOMS LANDING CARD ISSUED TO
Titanic & Travel Memorabilia
October 22, 2016
Devizes, United Kingdom
Description: **R.M.S. TITANIC - EXTREMELY RARE CUSTOMS LANDING CARD ISSUED TO TITANIC SURVIVOR CAROLINE BONNELL: An extremely rare customs landing card issued to Titanic survivor Caroline Bonnell who was rescued by the R.M.S. Carpathia from Titanic Lifeboat No. 8 on April 15th 1912. Had Titanic arrived in New York under normal conditions, Third Class passengers would have first disembarked at Ellis Island for processing while First Class and Second Class passengers would have been brought directly to the White Star Dock at Chelsea Piers. However, before Carpathia returned to New York with Titanic's survivors, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury had waived the normal customs landing requirements and inspections for Third Class passengers, allowing Carpathia to avoid a stop at Ellis Island and providing for a less stringent inspection process of Titanic's passengers and their luggage. Passengers arriving in vessels to the U.S. would receive a Landing or Custom Card to show the customs inspectors, similar to the travel document issued to passengers today for immigration and customs officials. The exceedingly rare landing card offered here does not bear the White Star Line moniker as it was given out aboard Carpathia instead of Titanic owing to the sinking. The landing card measures 4ins. x 3¼ins. and is filled out in blue wax pencil. It contains the name of the passenger, identifies her as being No. 18 of 19 names contained in list No. 3 (the purser was required to maintain and provide passenger lists for customs officials) and states that Bonnell is arriving on Carpathia ex Titanic. Second Class is crossed out and Saloon is inserted since that is where Titanic passengers were cared for on Carpathia. Also crossed out is the statement at the bottom of the card which reads, To be submitted to Immigration Officials at New York and surrendered at Steamer's Dock on disembarking owing to the fact that the ship was not stopping at Ellis Island and that customs requirements were relaxed for all of Titanic's survivors. The card also reflects that Bonnell departed from Southampton on April 10th, 1912. Caroline Bonnell was the 30 year-old daughter of an English father and an American mother. She boarded the Titanic in Southampton as a First Class passenger along with her American cousins and her English aunt. She was returning home to Ohio, USA following an extended trip to Europe. Bonnell's story, as well as this landing card, are featured in Ohio Tales of the Titanic by Janet A. White and Mary Ann Whitley (2012). This is an exceptional opportunity to acquire one of the rarest of Titanic-related artifacts, being unique to this survivor and containing Titanic's handwritten name and place and date of departure. The card had once been folded and exhibits minor expected age toning.