Really? Not to sound doubting, but how sure are you? To date, there is NO evidence what so ever that any bullion, jewels, diamonds, etc, etc, etc was ever aboard Titanic (except for what the passengers had in their staterooms, of course, but all of that is pretty well documented through insurance claims). Any large amount of vauble CARGO would have been claimed through insurance, but there is no such claim.
The only extremely valuble item that went down with the ship was a very rare book called the Rubiyat, a collection of eastern peotry written in the middle ages. The book itself wasn't very rare and it was in fact brand new, but the covers were bound with thousands of precious and semi-precious stones all forming elaborate disigns. It has not been recovered as of this date.
Even the Rubaiyat was not worth a lot. It sold for £405 just before sailing. The stones were numerous semi-precious stones, not big fat diamonds and the like. The book consisted of some 50 odd verses of Edward Fitzgerald's translation illustrated by the American artist Elihu Vedder. Vedder also put the verses into an order that he thought was more cohesive than Fitzgerald's version.
All this assumes that the book was on board. The nearest thing to a primary source for this that I've seen is a newspaper report.
Some verses are quite apt, like this one.
The worldly hope men set their hearts upon
Turns ashes, or it prospers, and anon,
Like snow upon the desert's dusty face
Lighting a little hour or two, is gone.
>Even the Rubaiyat was not worth a lot. It sold >for £405
I guess "worth" is a relative term, though. If I recall correctly, the 1912 British pound was worth roughly five dollars (and those were pre-income tax dollars.)
There used to be a website which calculated the purchasing power of currency from past decades; if someone recalls the URL of that website, it would be interesting if they could punch "$2000" into the website's calculator and see what that 1912 figure translates to in 2001 dollars. I suspect that the Rubaiyat's 'real' cost would have put it well out of the price range of most present-day Titanic enthusiasts (myself included.)
Try http://eh.net/hmit/ Lots of useful stuff, including the comparitive value of UK£ and US$ going back several centuries.
In 1912, UK£1 = US$4.87, so the Rubaiyaat cost US$1,972.35.
In today's terms the Rubaiyaat works out to UK£24,898.97. Ack! Quick, pass the smelling salts.
(Someone with a better understanding of the vagaries of the US$ over the past century can work out the US$ amount.
Colleen - I wouldn't like to guess what those books were worth. His 'little Bacon' book was rare and valuable even back then. (I once missed out on a very ordinary volume of poetry that had Widener's bookplate in it owing to a severe lack of the folding stuff.)
: A drop of water fell into the sea.
A speck of dust came floating down to earth.
What signifies your passage through this world?
A tiny gnat appears - and disappears.
Er, just occured to me that some context for all those pounds might be useful.
A quick squiz at the crew sign on sheets gives Chief Officer Wilde's monthly salary as £25 per month or £300 pa. That's £18,443.68 in 2001. No bejewelled copies of the Rubaiyaat for Henry Wilde, even if his wife came from money.
To place the £405 price for the Rubaiyaat into further perspective, Lamp Trimmer Samuel Hemming earned £5 per month, £60 pa (£3688.74 in 2001 terms).
(There. Inger's been waiting for a reference to AB Hemming for ages, no doubt. Plenty of time for that yet, Ing, plenty of time for that.
George, A good tip is to screw up shiny silver paper, glue it on then take out the light bulbs, remembering to only show it off in the near dark!
Or, as in the case of Alma's engagement ring, I used the same trick and hid her spectacles. This was a trick I learned from Cook.
>A good tip is to screw up shiny silver paper, >glue it on .....>remembering to
> only show it off in the near dark!
Geoff, you're a man after my own heart. The near dark ... 'economical' jewelry ... a nearsighted girl... it's a situation that cries out for men of action like you and me -- the possibilities are endless.
Geoff and George. You should be ashamed of yourself. You have Pat so paranoid, you can't even say the word "Pat" and he jumps to defensive mode kicking and hollering... Let the man read the Rubiot (that is how you spelled your version right?) in peace while he still can would ya'?
Just trying to be helpful Pat!
Just nobody let that Behe fella call out the word "Cook" poor old soul will end up covered in warts like me! Why, I'm so ugly now that Matron has sat me near the fire place to keep visiting kids away from getting burned. (mind you, she did BEFORE the warts too!)
If they ever find Mrs Cardeza's jewell case lying about they would find some pretty interesting stuff in it.
She filed a claim of $104,753 for its contents in 1912 - just short of $2 million in todays money. Included is a whopping great pink diamond from Tiffany's worth $20,000 (1912) and a ring worth $14,000 (1912) from Caldwell and Co.
So if anyone with half a brain feels like getting married down there again, why not go the whole hog and sniff around what's left of the pursers office for some shiney baubles....
Bullion on the Titanic has always intrigued me, mainly for the reasons given here.
Whilst serving, at different times, on five ships with the Union Castle line, we always carried bullion from South Africa. On arrival at Southampton, the gold never left the docks and went straight to the Ocean Terminal ( 43-44 berth) and was loaded onboard one of the great Cunarders for New York. It was always kept 'low-key' for obvious reasons but was nevertheless a regular occurrence. On one such voyage from South Africa, the bullion was stolen and on arrival at Southampton,the ship was thoroughly searched and gold bars were found in a sand box on the boat deck. The Southern Daily Echo will have this story in their archives, should anyone wish to check it out, but I remember it well.
There were many story's about these gold shipments amongst the crew and one theory was that they were soley British government transactions with the US government and would therefore have the right to have these shipments not appear on the ships manifest. Quite frankly, I wouldn't have a clue about such things but if that were the case, then why not bullion on the Titanic for similar reasons?
The bullion rooms on the big ships were always for'ard, as was sealed containers for furs from top furriers in Paris. Anyone out there with any credible ideas?
All the best,