Full Lot Details - Lot Number 252
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Description
R.M.S. TITANIC: An exceptional letter written onboard the ill-fated liner by first class passenger Alfons Simonius-Blumer. The letter is written in Swiss German on the morning of 11th April on Titanic stationery over four pages. The content of the letter is truly exceptional and is sold with its original envelope stamped Queenstown, Ireland 11th April, 1912 and Basel, Switzerland 13th April 1912.


On board "R.M.S.Titanic". 11/4/1912 10 a.m. 1912
Between Cherbourg and Queenstown
Dear Alice!
You will get this letter, probably on April 13th, and I will be halfway from yesterday and the day before. Yesterday evening at 7 o'clock we were at Cherbourg dock and I was standing at the entrance when I suddenly saw the three Frö?hlichers and they were instantly surprised by my welcome in Swiss (German). We sat with them at the same table in the dining room (25 × 35m in size), a six-seat table where we eat together and can talk a little together afterwards.

Last night I slept wonderfully from half past 10 to 7 o'clock this morning and I've ridden the (electric) horse and camel. They have left me well shaken up, and this afternoon at 3 or 4 o'clock I think I will take a Turkish bath. Although the wind is blowing strongly, the ship is not heeling over one bit, and I certainly think that not even you would get seasick, because everywhere the air is excellent.
In the smoking saloon and the other saloons they burn fires, mostly coal, and partly gas, but the air is good because of artificial ventilation against the smoke. It is really as good as the best hotel.

In an hour we shall be in Queenstown and stay there for the mails for probably a few hours. After that the real journey to the ocean begins
I wrote yesterday to Paul, so he knows my address, and he will ensure that the meeting at the end of May in Vienna takes place.

I received despatches yesterday in Cherbourg from Banff (Canada) & London and will now be only four days without news, because by as soon the 16th we will probably already be in London (sic - means New York), because our ship runs 25 - 26 knots per hour and the clock is reset every midnight by 63 minutes, because New York is five hours behind London.

Dr. Stachelin and the Frö?hlicher family send friendly greetings and the only regret of the latter is that you and Ella are not on the ship. They are visiting a brother-in-law and a brother and stay circa until the end of May, then return with the second son who has been overseas for about 1½ years (eighteen months). Now, farewell! Greetings to all, and feel kissed by your Alphons.
PS. Here in the smoking room (at the end of the ship) you can feel the propellers working, while in my cabin it is as quiet as in my room at home.


Mr Alfons Simonius-Blumer, 56, a colonel in the Swiss Army, was born on 23rd October 1855 in Basel, Switzerland. Mr Alfons Simonius-Blumer was accompanied by Dr. Max Staehelin-Maeglin, a lawyer. They boarded the Titanic as first class passengers. Their destination was New York, where they wanted to look after the business of Heine & Co., which belonged to the Swiss Bankverein. Simonius-Blumer bought his first class ticket number 13213 (£35 10s) from his agent: Kaiser & Cie., Basel for 897.35 Swiss francs. He boarded at Southampton and occupied cabin A-26. On Sunday evening (April 14th) Alfons Simonius-Blumer, Max Frölicher-Stehli and Max Staehelin-Maeglin sat in the first class smoke room and played cards until shortly after 11 pm. Around 11.30 pm they went to their staterooms. After the collision he went outside to see what had happened.

At 0.50 am he entered lifeboat 3 together with Max Staehelin-Maeglin. Lifeboat 3 (capacity 65) was launched from the starboard side at 1.00 a.m. under the command of Able Bodied Seaman George Moore. It contained 38 or 40 people. Later they rowed to keep warm. Lifeboat 3 arrived at the Carpathia at about 6.00 on the morning of April 15th 1912. In New York he was met by Dr. Hans Winterfeldt. He and Max Staehelin went to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. They visited the Heine Co. and travelled back to Europe on 7th May 1912 aboard of the Prinzessin Victoria Luise. Alfons Simonius-Blumer left the Army in 1913. He died in Lucerne from heart failure on 26th May 1920.
Estimate
 £20000 - 22000
VAT Status
M

Auctions and Value Added Tax

Notes for Buyers - A Summary

Items to be sold at auction within the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) can be offered under the Auctioneers' Margin Scheme or under normal Value Added Tax (VAT) rules.

VAT is potentially payable on the bid (hammer) price of the goods, on the auctioneer's commission in the form of a buyer's premium and on any charges relating to the goods (import, valuation, collection , storage, packaging, delivery, etc.).

For full details of the Auctioneers' Margin Scheme please refer to VAT notice 718. Normal VAT rules are detailed in VAT notice 700. Both document can be obtained from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat

VAT Code Definitions (Sales Tax) - A Summary

Each lot has a VAT code letter which defines how the lot is to be treated for VAT. The meanings of these codes are shown in the table below:

Auctioneers' Margin Scheme

MStandard rate item. Lot not liable for VAT on bid (hammer) price. VAT on buyer's premium at 20% included within buyer's premium and not shown separately.
NZero rate item. Lot liable for VAT on bid (hammer) price at 0%. Lot liable for VAT on buyer's premium at 0%.

Lots Subject to Normal VAT Rules

VStandard rate item. VAT at 20% added to bid (hammer) price. VAT on buyer's premium at 20% shown separately.
IStandard rate item. VAT at 20% included in bid (hammer) price. VAT included in bid price shown between ( ). VAT on buyer's premium at 20% shown separately.
WReduced rate item. VAT at 5% added to bid (hammer) price. VAT on buyer's premium at 20% shown separately.
JReduced rate item. VAT at 5% included in bid (hammer) price. VAT included in bid price shown between ( ). VAT on buyer's premium at 20% shown separately.
ZZero rate item. Lot liable for VAT on bid (hammer) price at 0%. VAT on buyer's premium at 20% shown separately.
EExempt item. Lot is exempt for VAT on bid (hammer) price. VAT on buyer's premium at 20% shown separately.


Normal VAT Rules

VAT accounting is mandatory for VAT registered businesses in the UK and EU. VAT (Sales Tax) is added to the price of the goods at either 20% or 5% according to the goods classification. VAT registered businesses can reclaim VAT paid by them on purchases. The difference between VAT collected on sales and VAT paid on purchases is sent to HMRC.

Most commercial auctioneers (i.e. those involved in the disposal of commercial assets be reason of business mergers, administrations, liquidations, disposals, etc.) sell under normal VAT rules. This is principally because the Auctioneers' Margin Scheme cannot be used where the goods have had VAT on their purchase reclaimed from HMRC - as will almost always be the case when auctioning goods previously bought by VAT registered businesses.

Lots subject to normal VAT rules are marked in the printed auction catalogue with a single asterisk character (*) or a single dagger symbol (†) to indicate a VAT added rate of 20%.

Lots subject to normal VAT rules are marked in the printed auction catalogue with a single 'at' character (@) to indicate a VAT inclusive rate of 20%.

Lots subject to normal VAT rules are marked in the printed auction catalogue with a double asterisk character (**) or a double dagger symbol (‡) to indicate a VAT added rate of 5%.

Lots subject to normal VAT rules are marked in the printed auction catalogue with double 'at' characters (@@) to indicate a VAT inclusive rate of 5%.

Lots subject to the 5% rate are often lots being sold under HMRC temporary importation rules where the import duty has been deferred until the point of sale and is to be paid by the buyer. However, some classes of goods do attract VAT at the reduced rate.

Please note that VAT on auctioneer's commission and charges is always at the 20% rate even if the good are subject to the 5% VAT rate.

A buyer's invoice will shoe the bid (hammer) price of the lots bought. VAT is added to the hammer price. The buyer must also pay the auctioneer's commission in the form of a buyer's premium, plus VAT on the buyer's premium at 20%. Any charges (e.g. delivery, packaging, etc.) will also be subject to VAT at 20%

Some auctioneers choose to sell VAT inclusive. This means that the bid (hammer) price achieved at auction already includes VAT at the appropriate rate. The true hammer price can be found by dividing the VAT inclusive price by either 1.2 or 1.05 as appropriate. VAT on hammer price, VAT on buyer's premium and VAT on charges will then all be based on the true hammer price. VAT inclusive lots will be marked as Inc or Nil in the on line catalogue.

Some classes of goods are either exempt or zero rated for VAT so there will be no VAT added to the hammer price for these goods.

Non UK or EU VAT registered buyers can have most classes of VAT refunded on their purchases - please note that auctioneers are under no obligation to provide VAT refunds, although many will offer this service. HMRC are the ultimate refunding authority. VAT refunds are subject to provision of statutory export/import documentation. HMRC have decreed that VAT on buyer's premium is always payable whether the buyer is domiciled in the UK, EU or outside the EU or wherever the goods are to be sent. So auctioneers cannot refund VAT on buyer's premium if the good are sold under normal VAT rules.

VAT is always calculated on a lot-by-lot basis. VAT totals on a buyer's invoice may show small rounding discrepancies. For example, if a buyer's premium was quoted at 17.5% inclusive of VAT, the actual buyer's premium rate would be 14.58333% plus VAT at 20%. Since currencies cannot have fractions of a penny or cents, rounding discrepancies will accumulate and cannot be avoided.

Auctioneers' Margin Scheme

Most auctioneers specialising in fine art and chattels - where VAT on the goods was originally paid but not reclaimed - choose to sell under the Auctioneers' Margin Scheme. The scheme is detailed in VAT notice 718, principally for disposal of non-commercial second-hand items, but in summary:

VAT is not payable on the bid (hammer) price.

Buyer's premium and VAT on buyer's premium are combined and shown as one total - VAT on buyer's premium is not shown separately and cannot be reclaimed by UK or EU VAT registered businesses or individuals.

Charges and VAT on charges are shown separately. VAT on charges can be reclaimed by UK and EU VAT registered businesses or individuals.

If a VAT registered UK or EU buyer wishes to reclaim VAT on purchases they can ask the auctioneer for a VAT invoice. This takes the relevant lots our of the Auctioneers' Margin Scheme and treats them all under normal VAT rules. The buyer will need to pay VAT on the hammer price of the goods. Buyer's premium and VAT on buyer's premium will be shown separately and VAT on buyers premium and charges can be reclaimed. A buyer cannot cherry pick which parts of the schemes they would want to utilise. For example, Auctioneers' Margin Scheme good cannot have VAT on buyer's premium shown separately unless VAT on hammer price is also paid to the auctioneers.

Non UK or EU VAT registered buyers can have all classes of VAT refunded on their purchases - please note that auctioneers are under no obligation to provide VAT refunds, although many will offer this service. HMRC are the ultimate refunding authority. VAT refunds are subject to provision of statutory export/import documentation.

VAT is always calculated on a lot-by-lot basis. VAT totals on a buyer's invoice may show small rounding discrepancies. For example, if a buyer's premium was quoted at 17.5% inclusive of VAT, the actual buyer's premium rate would be 14.58333% plus VAT at 20%. Since currencies cannot have fractions of a penny or cents, rounding discrepancies will accumulate and cannot be avoided.

Disclaimer

This note is an attempt to provide auction buyers with a summary of VAT law. The information is supplied in good faith but no warranties are given. Our advice is that buyers should raise queries with a local VAT office.

Effective from 1st January 2012



VAT on hammer price (highest bid) %
Nil
Buyer's Premium including VAT %
21
Buyer's Premium %
 
VAT on Buyer's Premium %
 
Artist's Resale Right Charge
No

Artist's Resale Right Scheme (Droit de Suite)


Following the UK's implementation of the EU Artist's Resale Right directive in 2006 living artists and with effect from 1st January 2012 artists deceased within the past 70 years are entitled to receive a resale royalty each time their artwork is sold in the UK by an art market professional, subject to certain conditions.

The payment is calculated on qualifying works of art which are sold for a hammer price or more than € 1,000. The UK sterling equivalent of € 1,000 will fluctuate in line with prevailing exchange rates. The actual qualifying threshold will be calculated by the Artist's Resale Right Service Hub based on the European Central Bank reference rate published at 2.15pm on the day of the sale and can be found on www.dacs.org.uk.

The royalty charge will apply if the hammer price is more than the UK sterling equivalent of € 1,000. The royalty charge will normally be added to the buyer's invoices and must be paid before items can be cleared. Some auctioneers may choose to split the charge between the buyer and the vendor. Some auctioneers may pass the entire charge to the vendor. Before bidding, we advise that you check which scheme your auctioneer is operating.

All royalty charges are paid to the Design and Artists Copyright Society ('DACS') and no handling costs or additional fees with respect to these charges are retained by the auctioneers.

Artist's Resale Right is a percentage of the hammer price calculated as follows:

Portion of the hammer priceRoyalty Rate
€ 1,000 - 50,000 4%
€ 50,000.01 - 200,000 3%
€ 200,000.01 - 350,000 1%
€ 350,000.01 - 500,000 0.5%
Exceeding € 500,000 0.25%
VAT is not payable on this royalty charge. The maximum royalty charge is € 12,500.

Revised 1st January 2012


CITES
No

CITES Regulations


Please note that lots marked with ~ in the main catalogue description and indicated by "YES" on the Full lot details page may be subject to CITES Regulations when exported.

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international agreement between governments that came into force in 1975. The import, export and use for commercial gain of certain species requires a CITES permit.

Over 2,500 animal and 25,000 plant species are included in the Appendices of CITES on Appendix I, II or III. In the European Union the CITES Appendices are replaced by Annexes A, B, C and D. Commission Regulation 1320/2014, which came into effect on 20 December 2014, provides a complete list of species controlled by CITES under the EU regulations.

The full CITES regulations may be found at www.defra.gov.uk