Christmas Shopping Tips for the Hard to Please Liner Buff


Jim Kalafus

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Well, in the U.S., Thanksgiving is upon us and, in just two short days the Christmas Shopping rush commences. Here are a few suggestions, across a wide range of prices, for that liner buff to whom a Jack and Rose potpourri holder no longers holds the appeal it once did:

OLYMPIC SWIMMING POOL TILES: New for the Christmas 2006 season are these tiles removed from the Olympic in the 1930s and stored until now. Moderately priced, they make an excellent small-but-interesting package for Christmas Day and, bought in a large enough quantity make an eye catchingly good substitute for linoleum.

http://www.luxurylinerrow.com/Olympic%20fittings.html

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Jim Kalafus

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LINER RELATED MUSIC: From the mid-1950s onward, most of the major liners offered 'Souvenir of Your Voyage' LPs, recorded and sold by the ship's orchestra. Immensely popular in their day, they are among the least expensive 'onboard' collectibles on the market, and at their, best capture what it was like to sit in the First Class Lounge or ballroom on one of the late-period classic liners.

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Among the best is the onboard album from the Furness liners Ocean Monarch and Queen of Bermuda. A lush, big band sound and the only musical misfire in the lot is a a lavishly orchestrated rendition of Colonel Bogey's March, aka Theme From the Bridge Over the River Kwai.

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Also recommended is the later album "Italianissimo" once available aboard the Raffaello. Not as lavish as the Furness album, it nevertheless captures the spirit of the dying days of The True Crossing. One need only to listen to the slick performance of Cuando Cuando Cuando to be transported back to 1966 and a night in the cutting edge modern ballroom in which the Deneuve look and the Julie Christie look mingled with men in full eveningwear.

In an era where virtually every liner souvenir album contained a version of Alley Cat, the Raffaello Orchestra's attempt to make it sound 'cool' is unforgettable...in an Ed Wood/Valley of the Dolls /witnessing a car accident kind of way.

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And, if your liner buff has an odd sense of humor, Home Lines' Italia made available an album with the unfortunate but never to be forgotten title "Pissi Pissi Bau! Bau!" Yes, I KNOW what it means in Italian, but to the predominantly English speaking passengers, to whom the lower case "i'' would at first glance have matched the "!" after "Bau" the cover HAD to have elicited gasps, followed by embarrased laughter. The music isn't bad at all, but that title....

In any case, these albums and dozens of others can be found 'Buy it Now' on eBay for considerably less than a copy of the soundtrack album in which Celine's Heart Goes On. And, transferred to CD, are a lot more fun in the long term. Dont pay more than $15.
 

Jim Kalafus

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AFFORDABLE NORMANDIE. Well, with Queen of the Seas long out for print, and not an entirely satisfying book to begin with, it was a relief to see Frederic Ollivier's Normandie come on to the market.

Availalbe through Amazon.fr. it is worth the cover price simply for the illustrations. It also contains a fold out of the elusive deckplans, 'though not the Isos. The text is in French, but if you do not read French once you see the photos and artwork, you won't care! If you CAN read French, you'll find the text well written and well researched.

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If you have some cash to burn, find a copy of:

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Out of print since the 1990s, and retailing for close to $300 when new, Arts Decoratifs a bord des paquebots francais can go for as much as $1000.00 used, but if you can afford it, it is worth the investment. Hundreds upon hundreds of color and B&W photos of the major and minor French liners ca 1900-1974, it is one book your liner buff will not believe upon receiving.

Somewhat down the price scale~ dont' pay $200...$300...$400 for a single Normandie brochure with a handful of interior photos when for less than $150 and, frequently, for less than $100, one can find either of the two Normandie souvenir issues of l'Illustration on eBay. The one with the bland "coat of arms" cover is the better buy.
 

Jim Kalafus

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BROWSE THE FILES AT NAUTIQUES.

http://www.nautiques.net/browse.cfm/2,139.html

Most of the items are on the 'affordable' end of the price scale and this is a great source for items from oddball liners like the Yarmouth Castle. Much great 'stocking stuffer" material here,and ideal for those times when you want to get that liner buff in your life something special but don't want to spend more than $10.
 

Jim Kalafus

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LEGAL LUSITANIA SALVAGE: What 'doomed liner' buff wouldn't jump at the opportunity to dine with the aid of a genuine Lusitania Kitchener spoon?

http://www.luxurylinerrow.com/4998%20additional.html#Top%20of%20page

now that the wreck is mostly off limits, and salvage entirely out of the question, the answer to my rhetorical question is "many would, but few will be able to!"

Not inexpensive, but worth the investment, my own spoon will have a place of honor at the Holiday Table for years to come.
 

Jim Kalafus

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THE FRANCE AT THE VERY BEGINNING: Now that she is on the brink of being recycled into thousands upon thousands of Kias and Hyundais and Flowbee2s, would even the most hard hearted liner buff not 'tear up' at the 1962 special edition of France Via the French Line under the tree on Christmas morning? The 'official' French Line magazine went all out to commemorate their flagship's entry into service, and the end result is a stunning cradle-to-arrival-in-NYC look at her. Lots of color shots, and one of only two 'must haves' for the serious France-ophile.
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The other is Les Oeuvres D'Art du Paquebot France, the glossy, elegant catalogue of the liner's on board artwork once available in her shops.

These sell for much $ on eBay, BUT one can VERY often find them as 'just another used book' by using a search engine such as bookfinder.com.

EBay is usually in the vicinity of $125-$200 for either. Bookfinder can make them yours for about a quarter of that amount if you shop carefully!
 

Jim Kalafus

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BARGAIN SHOP AT THE OLD PRINT SHOP; Well, if you are in the Metro tri-state area anyway. The Old Print Shop, at 150 Lexington Avenue (between E 29th and E 30th) is my favorite source of 'relative' bargains. Your liner buff will be familiar, of course, with the large format museum quality stone-lithos of pre-1910 ships, and will be VERY familiar with the price- astronomical- but if you take the time to search, diligently at O.P.S. one can turn up the 'diamond in the rough' that will make your buff the happiest obsessive-compulsive ship nut in town! You see, occasionally an excellent print will come along that, at some point in the past, was 'cut down' to fit a frame negating much of its value to a serious collector but leaving the image 100% perfect.
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This Endicott litho of the C.W. Vanderbilt, which now hangs in my library, was pristine as far as the image went but trimmed of much of its advertising copy...and so was priced at less than 1/4 of that at which comparable, but intact, prints were priced. In short, although not cheap, it STILL cost less than two days in my hotel room the week I bought it did.
1-212-683-3950.

A bit more eclectic, and often much more affordable, is the Prints Room at Argosy, at 116 East 59th street, between Park and Lex. Argosy is, in many ways, like browing the attic of a really cool older relative. Want Calvin Coolidge's watch fob? They have it, with provenance. Want an autogrpahed letter from Paul "Poseidon Adventure" Gallico? I found one in the tempting bargain bin they place just inside the entrance to lure obsessive compulsive folk such as myself in. Want a signed 'glamor shot' of Bella Abzug? Well...I didn't either, but never the less they had one last time I checked. The ship material up on the third floor is intriguing, although variable from visit to visit, and it seems as if every time I go there I find a new Great Eastern print from the 1850s for less than $300.00. A great source for Collins Line images as well.
 

Jim Kalafus

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L'ATLANTIQUE by LES STREATER: I believe that this is the first English work to appear regarding the legendary 'cousin' of the Normandie; a ship even more lavish and shorter lived (one year and, perhaps, three months) than the famous CGT liner. The part about the fire is particularly compelling to read, and the illustrations- dozens of them- are all first rate, and many are uncommon even to a serious buff!

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http://www.amazon.com/LAtlantique-Streater/dp/0752428373/sr=8-1/qid=1164247333/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-4882787-1195208?ie=UTF8&s=books

an added bonus is the original cover art by the incomparable Stephen Card. Mr. Card is familiar to liner buffs for the high quality of his artwork~ in a field of assembly line, interchangeable, destined to end up on a calendar paintings, the pictures stand tall, and if you have been on the QE2 or the QM2 you are already familiar with his Cunard themed work. If you invest in:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cunarder-Maritime-Paintings-Stephen-Card/dp/0954366646/sr=11-1/qid=1164246928/ref=sr_11_1/026-8649176-0393214

your liner buff with good taste in art will be grateful.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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More to follow. If anyone reading has any favorite "non gift shoppe" items, or recommended sure fire shopping places, please add them, lest many an unsuspecting liner buff be greeted by the unwelcome visages of Kate and Leo emerging from the wrapping paper on Christmas Day.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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I'm not modest!

Why not go to-----
http://users.senet.com.au/~gittins/special.html and get yourself or your friends my own e-book?

You even get access to a private page of corrections and updates, including the story of an unknown captain who could have shown Captain Smith a thing or two about abandoning ship. Dead tree books don't have such features.

It's even better with Internet Explorer 7.
 

Jim Kalafus

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A good suggestion -the online book is excellent, and by buying it you'll not only make the liner buff in your life happy but you'll also be supporting an ET contributor.

>I'm not modest!

I'm utterly shameless myself and so, here goes:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Titanic-Diaries-Dramatic-accounts-shipwreck/dp/1857942310/sr=11-1/qid=1164298604/ref=sr_11_1/026-8649176-0393214

Titanic Diaries was a project I was involved in to various extents 2003-2005. It is one of my fonder 'ventures' of the last few years, and I was glad to see Anthony's work turn out as well as it did. Inadvertantly, we captured the final interviews with several survivors ~ The General Slocum's Adella Liebnow Wotherspoon, and the Morro Castle's Dolly Davidson McTigue passed on, respectively, shortly after Anthony spoke them.

As an added bonus, all of the royalties are given to a lifesaving group at the request of, and endorsed by, Lusitania survivor Audrey Pearl so you'll not only receive a good book but also help a worthwhile Maritime cause.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Note that Titanic: Monument and Warning is not an online book. It's a CD containing the equivalent of a 230,000 word book, plus illustrations and about 1,300 references and footnotes.
 
K

Kevin Saucier

Guest
I should jump in and stop being so modest as well.

If you are going to buy something Titanic related, you might as well buy the real thing!

TitanicItems.com Store

There are relics for collectors on a budget as well as high-end museum pieces. Enjoy!

Kevin
 

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