Book Sinking of the Titanic from the 1912 era


Erin Hopkins

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Apr 11, 2009
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I received a message today from a fellow Titanic lover offering me a book called "Sinking of the Titanic--The World's Greatest Sea Disaster" claiming it was first edition and supposedly was published in 1912 or around that general era.

I haven't been able to see the book with my own eyes and to be honest I am skeptical about it. If I could see it with my own eyes and possibly have it looked at by an antique professional it would be so much easier.

Would anyone know if the book is legit or not?
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Jason D. Tiller

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Dec 3, 2000
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Hi Erin,

Yes, that is definitely an authentic book, which appears to be in relatively good condition. It was one of several 'instant' books that were published just weeks after the disaster. It's nice to have in one's collection, but that book and the others similar to it are filled with wrong information, since there was no fact checking done before they were published. Basically, they were rushed to print.

There were sales people going from door to door, selling the books for a dollar, when they first came out.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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That is a bit pricey, but I've seen worse on ebay for the same book. The red cover ones are rarer than the other 'instant' books which are a lot more common, so that could be the reason.

Currently on ebay, there is a red cover copy going for $149.95 US!
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Yes Jason, the red cover book is excedingly harder to obtain, I picked my copy up many yrs. ago at an Antique store in CA., for about $30.00. It is about the same condition as the one displayed here.
(BTW, I had a premonition dream about finding the book, approximately one year beforehand...way before E-Bay and all that ;-)

Michael Cundiff
NV, USA
 

Erin Hopkins

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Apr 11, 2009
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I agree that it's definately a bit on the pricey side.

There's an antique store about five miles away from where I live. When I'm in that area again I'll be checking out her books to see if she has it.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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At least two of these books are available online, namely the ones by Logan Marshall and Jay Henry Mowbray.

As sources of information they are of variable value. I consider some of Logan Marshall reliable, but they all require caution. There is much duplication between books, as they were thrown together from press accounts and sometimes the US inquiry. If you like collecting books, go ahead, but there are cheaper ways of getting the stories, including modern reprints. I noticed a reprint of Logan Marshall in the local library the other day.
 
Dec 8, 2000
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Some of the 'instant' books are available through cheaper, more recent reprints but I wouldn't be without my collection of the 1912 originals even just for the curiosity value.

While the release of Cameron's film drove the price of the instant books up, it also saw a lot more of them hit the market - including the rarer versions. Even now, the prices seem to be holding steady. The most recent copy of that book I found on eBay looked in really good condition and sold for US$102, plus postage.

Have a trawl through the used book sites and eBay, but I think for the condition this rarer book appears to be in that's not an unreasonable price, including postage. From the photos the cover's relatively undamaged even if showing signs of age, the spine is intact and there don't look to be any loose pages. Could you get more information on the book's condition ie making sure there's no damp or water damage, mould spores and so on?

Alas, for Jay White's wonderful site on the 1912 instant books is no longer extant, for he had good info on each version's rarity and relative value. I haven't tracked the going rate of the 1912 books on eBay for years, either.

Erin, if you'd love to have one of the 1912 books but can't come at $100, keep an eye out for the Logan Marshall book (yellow cover) as it's the most common and you can still get copies in reasonable nick for around $50 - or even less, if you're in the right place at the right time.
 
Dec 8, 2000
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Mmm, haven't had an in depth trawl through eBay for instant books in an age and there's some very competitively priced Marshall Everetts (dark blue/green cover) available right now too. Tempting, very tempting...

Erin, as you're based in the US where the books were released and most still are, I reckon if you keep an eye out you'll find a copy of one of the books in good condition and at a price you're very happy with.

And having got my copy of the Russell book (red cover) down off the shelf for a bit of a squiz, I still think that's still a very nice copy you've posted about.
 

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