Rarest Titanic Item

Hello all,

I know there are many individuals on this board who have absolutely fabulous Titanic collections. I often thought that mine was something to be proud of, but after noticing that some people have in excess of 200 books on the subject, and after seeing pictures on eBay of tables laden with replica Titanic china and crystal, I began feeling a little bummed about about my own collection.

That got me to thinking -- what is the rarest, most valuable, most precious Titanic item that you own?

I would say that my most prized piece of Titanic memorbilia is my original 1912 hardback edition of Logan Marshall's "Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters". I know that this in and of itself isn't that rare (heck you can see the same book selling on eBay for $25). What makes it special is my small collection of Titanic survivor autographs in the inside. When I attended the THS convention in Boston in 1992, I was lucky enough to meet and request an autograph from Eva Hart, Millvina Dean, Eleanor Johnson Shuman, Louise Kink Pope, and cross-channel passenger Eileen Lenox-Coningham (I don't think I spelled that correctly). Meeting these 5 wonderful women was a great experience and I'm glad have secured some memory of them as now all but one has left us.

I don't know what the dollar value is on this particular piece, and I wouldn't think that it would be all that much. Regardless, it still remains a favourite piece in my collection and to me the most valuable.

I'm looking forward to see what everyone here feels is their most precious piece of the Titanic story.

What an interesting idea for a thread!
The most valuable piece of Titanic memorabilia I own would have to be my vile of rust. They're crumbs that fell off of the Big Piece and I got it through a little old lady who was volunteering at the St. Paul exhibit (a very kind and lovable soul). They got it sort of as payment for volunteering. I think she and her friend were supposed to be docents or something, but I "impressed" them so much that she gave me her piece of Titanic. I'm just that good!


Pat Cook

The eternal verites aside, for me, it's hard to say which is more valuable to me personally - each item has its own story.

I would have to say the family photographs of Lawrence Beesley's family they sent me in gracious assistance to my project would be at the top (A couple are seen in this month's editon of "The White Star Journal" put out by the Irish Titanic Society, he said in a shameless plug). Along with and on the same level with these are the letters they wrote.

My first Titanic book - "The Story of the Wreck of the Titanic" (or is it "The Wreck and the Sinking of the Titanic"? - it says one thing on the cover and another on an inside page!) - not only because it was my first but also becuase it was sent to me by an uncle and aunt who found it in a flea market.
My 1912 first edition of Beesley, again not just because of its rarity but because my wife gave it to me some Christmas's ago. The full six-card set of the Bamforth "Nearer My God To Thee" post cards for the same reason.
An original Charlotte Collyer newspaper article in "The Semi-Monthly Magazine", not just for it's historical significance but also because, by submitting it, it introduced me to Phil Hind and so many others good friends.

The list goes on and on. Great question!

Best regards,
Hi, all!

This thread brings to mind a discussion that Inger Sheil and I had some time ago. She had seen some unique piece of Titanica that was going to be sold, and was expressing frustration that it was probably destined for a private collection, where she and other scholars would not have access to it.

Private individuals have done wonderful things in preserving and gathering Titanic materials. However, given the continuing interest in the ship and everything about her, I hope that all of you will begin to consider where your special things are going to go when you're no longer around, and get some of them into public collections. Yes, that's a shameless professional plug on my part, as a librarian with an extra degree in musuem studies.

Okay, Pat, maybe your vial of rust is of interest only to you... :)

Pat Cook

Hi Pat,

Minor corrrection - David Hudson has the vial of rust. I have a pile of rust which passes for our second car.

We have great fun in NY, didn't we?!

Warmest regards,

ps. Rose Ann says 'Hi'.
Most important in my collection?

Certainly the photographs given me by the families of Cosmo and Lucy Duff Gordon (whose birthday is today, not that anyone but me would care)

My correspondence with her grandson and granddaughter, now passed on.

And the kimono believed to be the very one "Lucile" wore off the Titanic. This has been loaned to me by the family.

Pat has brought up a good point about private collectors needing to take time to consider where their precious items might end up.

My own collection of "Lucile" memorabilia, for instance, including actual gowns and watercolor sketches, original photos, catalogs, books, etc. will eventually be donated to the Special Collections Dept. and the Costume Lab at the Fashion Institute of Technology Library, NY.

I urge anyone here with signifant collections to arrange for the eventual donation of their material to an institution of their choice - THS, BTS, the Maritime Museum, etc. Afterall, we are only a blip on life's radar. But these things will go on after us and be enjoyed for generations - if we take care that they are preserved.

Had never considered this subject before- I have some fibers from a section of Titanic lifeboat rope which fell off during conservation, a copy of Gracie's Truth About the Titanic- first edition, a really rare Unsinkable Titanic first autographed edition by Bernard Walker (1912) a photograph of Marshall Drew just as he set sail on Olympic, 1911, lots of postcards autographed over the years, letters which I treasure from Walter Lord and some survivors, Marshall's handwritten account of the disaster, a white star burgee which flew over the wreck site, a flake of davit rust(!) a reverse on glass of the ship from 1912, a large Tichnor Brother print similar to the postcard and a box full of origami critters Marshall made as well as some of his books- have become quite a packrat for steamship menus, tins and post cards. Hope my kids don't put all this in a yard sale someday!

Trent Pheifer

Former Member
I always said, if I ever got anything significant to Titanic and her story, when I died all of it would go to the Titanic Historical Society, but thats if and I hope I still have awhile till that happens!!! I wish I were a bit older though, I doubt I will ever have the experience of meeting a survivor, and getting to talk to them. I see many stories on this borad about meeting people had with survivors and wish I could have been there to talk to Ruth Becker or Eva Hart. I feel like I am missing out on somthing truly special.

Shelley, if you don't put it in your will that your Titanic memorabilia is to go to a museum, your items will probably end up in a yard sale! You've got us all beat on the best stuff, probably. All my stuff is reproductions, books, etc, but I have A LOT of it. My inventory page is eight pages long.
And Happy Birthday, Lucile, you don't look a day older than 57 in my memories of you.
The most important things I have Titanic related are some passenger lists with Titanic passengers.
A 1908 Kronprinzessin Cecilie with Ben Guggenheim ( you have to wonder who his mistress is )
A 1908 Kaiserin Auguste Victoria with the Wick family
A 1910 Minnetonka with George Goldschmidt
and a Late 1911 Kronprinzessin Cecilie with Edith Evans and WF Hoyt. The last safe voyage they would take.
Remember dear Mother ( Shelley ) you promised all those goodies to me.

Tracy Smith

I'd give anything to have one of Stanley Lord's overcoats from when he was captain, or one of his hats. But I'm not even sure if any of these things of his still exist.....