To Jim , thank you for your posts on the Normandie,I did not realize how many People had a passion for this awesome ship, for me it is nostalgia, I had the great pleasure of visiting the Normandie, on a field trip taken with my classmates in 1938 in Le Havre,I was 13 years old. I would like some information on the Liberte,I took a return trip to the states on it in 1955, I understand it had been used by the Germans during the war and had been renamed,can you help me?? I would be very thankful...Regards Jacqueline Snow
Hi, Jacqueline: You are welcome, and I envy you for having the opportunity to see the Normandie. Off the top of my head, Liberte began her career as the Europa, sister ship of NDL's Bremen. They were supposed to made simultaneous Maiden Voyages but Europa suffered a fire and her debut was delayed almost a year. Both ships shared the Blue Riband. Europa survived WW2, was briefly in US service after the German defeat, and was then ceded to France as a partial replacement for the Normandie. She was being refitted in leHavre, when a storm came up and drove her against the wreck of the Paris (which had lain at her pier all through WW2, after burning and capsizing in 1939) and she sank on an even keel. Which is, in part, why she did not appear on the Atlantic until 1950. Much of the artwork removed from the Normandie pre-fire was installed aboard Liberte and Ile de France postwar. One of the bronze panels from Normandie's smoking room can be seen in photos of Liberte's first class lounge, for instance. She remained in service through 1961.
I have several dozen more Normandie photos to post but I have never found any of Liberte.
Jim, for some reason I do not think you received my second post, I am very thankful for your prompt reply,it really refreshed my memory, I think that I may have a photo of the Liberte somewhere in my old postcard collection and if you are interested I will look for it...Regards, Jacqueline
Does anyone know how much original photographs of the Normandie are bought/sold for?
I work at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and yesterday I noticed two women hunched over a beautiful 8 by 10 photograph of the Normandie entering New York Harbor--evidently one of their ancestors (a Hungarian) came to America on it, and they claimed that the ancestor had snapped the photograph (they had no idea what ship they were looking at, and were trying to figure it out as they wanted to look at the passenger manifest to find their ancestor).
When I told them about the Normandie's history, they became curious as to whether the photo may have any value, and I thought I'd see whether anyone here might have an opinion.
The primary focus of the photo is the Normandie, although another worker at the library identified the Staten Island ferry (?) in the foreground. I almost wonder if maybe it wasn't a photo professionally done of the Normandie and sold as a souvenier either on the ship or in New York City. But then, you'd think it would have been published somewhere, and I don't recall ever having seen this shot. What do you think?
They also had a photograph of a ship that I think was the Italian line's Saturnia; I'd be interested for opinions on that as well.
Hi, Jim. There is a VERY wide price range on Normandie photos, and no seeming consistency. I have bought beautiful images for as low as $5, and have seen bidding on mundane shots get fierce and drive the price astronomically high. The Italian Line has a smaller but very active following so the same will hold true for the Saturnia photo. Even if the shots are publicity photos or news service shots they still have collector's value provided that they are not later reprints- good quality vintage liner 8X10s tend to sell in the $25-$100 range on eBay, with Normandie items falling on the higher end of the scale. And, as I said, with Normandie you can never tell- frequently a bidding war will break out and the price will go through the roof.
Here are two...well...mediocre photos of what are probably the best bargains in the world of Normandie graphics. In 1935 and 1936 the French Line ran several full page, full color ads in Sunday papers across the US. Unlike most other Normandie images, there were literally millions of these printed, and 'though the survival rate is consistant with those of any other nearly-70-year-old papers, first class examples of these can often be found for $5 or less. Mounted and framed, they make a nice alternative to the Cassandre reprints.
This ad is the nicest in the series, for it contains color images of all the principal CGT liners on the North Atlantic, and even has a small adaptation of the Cassandre Normandie on the upper right. It is close to poster size, and never fails to elicit comment....
Thanks, Jason: As I said, the best part about them is that if you have access to vintage paper shows, or deal with any vintage newpaper specialists, you can often find them in (otherwise) mundane issues at exceptionally low rates. Unlike the iconic Cassandre poster, they have never been reproduced and can cost about $9995 less to purchase.