Titanic Dinner Plates


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sean szmalc

Guest
As previously mentioned Steve, we have as yet never received any items from you, we still have the emails also. You still continue to ask about the Diary, as previously mentioned in the posting if you care to read them again, I explained to you that the parties involved will be in touch with you PERSONALLY very soon.

I cannot understand why you say that we are giving you no specific answers; only scorn and a feeble attack on your character and the artifacts you currently curate. You are the one doing this if you care to read the previous postings to both our very good friend who is both a consultant and very highly respected in the Titanic world and Mr. Bull whom is a very elderly Gentleman and who owns the diary of not only 1912 but many years prior and thereafter which again does include the insertions that we are disputing over, this is what I cannot understand that it is written in black and white yet so many say is false.

I would also like to appeal to members of the ET to air their views, and await for the day that this provenace is shown to many and the dispute finally put at rest.
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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Okay, if I had reread some previous posts, I would have realized you do know Steve. But I am curious about the matter you have brought up. Just to satisfy my curiosity, would you mind telling me - in private if you have to - who this "gentleman" is? I'm not disputing you, but it would be helpful to know his identity to verify his credentials. I know of several collectors of museum-quality artifacts, so I may know of the person you're speaking. In fact, I'm well acquainted with the folks who run the museum in Orlando, and we're working to move it to West Palm Beach where I live. So I do know some collectors. If it's who I'm thinking of, then I have no problem with your arguments. Basically, I would like to see the "heat" of the arguments turned down considerably, and not have them turned into personal attacks. But I would point out that you'll win more supporters by revealing your information. By not sharing the provenances on the board so that all can see what it is you're talking about, by not revealing the man's name, it makes you look less authentic. I'm not attacking you, I'm merely pointing out how it comes across to people who don't know you. By all means, if you have documentation, please share it. I'd like to see it, even if you don't want to share it with Steve.
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
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Aug 20, 2000
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I would also like to see the evidence about the china, because I'm very interested in this as well. I'm not disputing you in any way, but as Kyrila said it's a good idea for the other members to see what you're referring to. Otherwise, you'll have more non-believers than people willing to believe you.

Steve knows what he is talking about, I can assure you that. Furthermore, I don't appreciate the personal attacks here and all Steve is asking for is proof. Maybe this should go to e-mail, but if you have information please post it. In other words, put up or shut up.

Jason
 

Steve Santini

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Nov 22, 2000
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Hi all,
A few months back, one of these "authentic" Titanic plates was offered for sale on Ebay. I have a scan of the "provenance" letter which came with this plate (Thanks to Anthony). I have tried to upload it to this site but it tells me the file is too large for upload. As far as I am concerned, this letter is the "coffin nail" that will put to rest these claims of authenticity once and for all. There are some VERY glaring conflicts in this letter including one part where it is said that a one Mr. Frederick Blake, who worked as an Engineering Superintendant for White Star, presented a batch of Titanic plates taken off the ship by Mr. Bull in 1912 to his Parish Church in 1928 ON HIS RETIREMENT (Blakes). What is really interesting is that at the bottom of this "provenance" letter, a quote from a White Star Line "Diary" for 1930/31 lists Blake as working for the company at that time! How in the heck could the guy have retired in 1928, (as this document claims), and, according to the WSL "diary" for 1930/31 still be working for the company???? Also, I thought Sean and Margot had repeatedly told me in previous posts that this man Bull, who is alleged to have taken the plates off Titanic in 1912, is recorded in a White Star Line "diary" of 1912 as having done so. Not only is the "diary" excerpt in this provenance letter not for 1912, it is for MANY years later in 1930/31!!! Where is the 1912 diary quote I have been told exists but have never seen? Since I cannot upload this letter to ET, I will gladly send it by e mail to any and all interested parties. The letter mentions this Mr. Bull taking plates off of Titanic but it gives no proof to this end. The letter also states that the plates from Titanic removed from the ship by Mr. Bull sat in Stoniers (WSL's china agents) Southampton warehouse from 1912 until 1928 when Blake retired and requested the plates so he could give them to his Church. Please someone tell me why would plates in patterns used by all the ships of the line sit in the china agents' warehouse for all those years and never be out into use on any other WSL ship? (That is of course assuming they were actually taken off Titanic in 1912 which I doubt.) The reason Stoniers had a depot near the Southampton docks was so they could re stock ships suffering breakage. So, if what the letter is true, these numerous "Titanic" plates sat untouched from 1912 till 1928 when they were given to a church by a man when he retired in 1928 only in fact he retired after 1930/31? Yeah right! I am starting to develope a pretty good theory that says these plates were not from Titanic at all but were merely surplus that were given over to a church following WSL's merger with Cunard in the mid 30's. Feel free to e mail me for this very revealing "provenance". Kind regards, Steve Santini.
 
May 8, 2001
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Sean and Margot. I can somewhat understand why you've become angry and frusterated at Steve. Both of you are trying to make a point about the plates, but here is really the bottom line. Steve, and the rest of us watching from a distance, are not discounting the possibility of truth to the story, all Steve keeps asking for is the solid proof needed to say that they were from Titanic. Handwriting samples in this diary can also be a great help in deciphering facts of long ago. Better that this is addressed sooner than later. The longer that time passes, the less a chance that positive identity can be secured. The value would increase so radically that it would be well worth it to take the extra steps (and a collector who seems truly willing to teach and assist) to make it beyond a doubt, 100% fact.

Personally, I hope for the sake of the Titanic community that this is found to be legitimate so we can all embrace it as a great new find. However, please realize how many times over the past 90 years the statement has been made about something being genuine, or someone being a survivor and it wasn't true. It makes the burden of truth that much harder for those claims today.

Sincerely,
Colleen

p.s. Tell the owner he is more than welcome to come here and tell us more about it himself. Would love to hear it!
 
D

David Seaman

Guest
Hi Mr Santini
Sorry I haven't become as involved in the topic as I would like to... but have been so busy. I will try to post a picture of the "Titanic Plates", but no promises it will work
proud.gif
. Murphy's Law has taken over and I have misplaced the good photo of the whole case and I'm afraid you will all have to settle for a VERY blurry picture but it should be clear enough to see.
Hope this picture can settle some debate, in the meantime I will keep looking for the other one.

Take Care
D Sea
27766.jpg
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
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Thanks, David. The pattern doesn't resemble pieces of broken china that RMSTI has brought up from the ocean bottom. Those pieces I have seen several times, and have purchased reproductions of them made by Woodmere. I refer you to page 182 of "Titanic: Legacy of the World's Greatest Ocean Liner" by Susan Wels for a photograph of the china brought up from the debris field by RMSTI, which pieces I have actually seen in exhibitions. That should clear up any dispute. The pattern of these plates appear to me to be more "modern" than the pattern used in 1912.

Kyrila
 

Kyrila Scully

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Just an addendum. I have seen the Bull Provenance, and I have to agree with Steve on this one. This is not to say that your Mr. Bull is a liar, but sincerely misinformed. I know lots of people who hold dearly to misinformation in other areas. For years I was told by my family that a member of our family was lost on Titanic. Even though I have absolutely proven this to be false, they still claim that it's true. It doesn't mean they're liars; it just means that they have faith in something that is false because it's what they have always believed, and their parents before them believed it. And then there are the opportunists who will take advantage of people who believe it, for their own profit, but that's another story.

Kyrila
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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Sorry, I'm on a roll and can't seem to stop.
You know, fathers like to be heroes to their children. I can think of several fathers who have perpetuated myths to their young children about themselves in order to live up to their children's expectations about their fathers. This may be one of those instances, where a father sought to impress his son with a lovely story, and the son believes it to the end. Nothing wrong with that...until money enters the picture.

Kyrila
 

Steve Santini

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Nov 22, 2000
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Dear David,
It's just as I predicted earlier. The plates in your picture are the "Greek Key" pattern. Nothing special or unique about them at all! So, what do we have up until now? 1) A "provenance" document which contradicts itself , 2) A pattern of china used on other ships of the line and not specific to Titanic, and, 3) As of yet, no answers to my repeated questions. For those who may be interested, the names on the "provenance" document a kind interested party e mailed me are John C. Cross and Philip Croucher. I personally do not know which of these men is the actual owner of the plates as well as the other "authentic" and amazing items Sean and Margot previously mentioned but I am puzzled why these people were not mentioned by name by Sean or Margot before now. In any event, I know a fair number of Titanic collectors the world over yet I never have heard of either of these men or thier collections. That is not to say that they do not collect Titanica, only that I personally, (and other collectors I spoke to), are not familiar with these names in the Titanic collecting community. Regards, Steve Santini. P.S. If anyone can tell me how to reduce the "provenance" document I was sent so that it can be posted on this site, please e mail me directly with the "how to" info. Otherwise, anyone interested may e mail me and I will send it on. NOTE: The plate I previously mentioned that was being offered for sale on ebay (and that the "provenance" document is for) was not this "Greek Key" pattern but was an even more common Stonier pattern outfitted to ALL the ships of the White Star Fleet. I imagine the provenance document and information is the same for all of these plates as it clearly states in the document that the plate offered was taken off Titanic by a one Mr. Bull who worked for White Star. The players in the documentation are consistant, however, the information designed to authenticate the plates is not.
 

Steve Santini

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Nov 22, 2000
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Dear Kyrila,
BTW. A slight correction. The "Greek Key" pattern was in use on the Titanic and pieces were in fact raised from the wreck. Pictures of a saucer in this pattern appear in the exhibition guide books for both the Memphis and St. Pete's exhibitions put on some years back by RMSTI. The OSNC logo has been efaced from this saucer, and, the gold edge work is difficult to make out, but it is in fact the Greek Key pattern. Once again I must restate that the Greek Key pattern was NOT exclusive to Titanic and the pattern was used in first class on other ships of the line it is believed up until the 1930's. So, there was quite an abundance of this particular pattern made over the years. The mere fact that any given plate or china piece is in this pattern is in no way any kind of proof that it was made for, or used on the Titanic. Kind regards, Steve Santini
 

Kyrila Scully

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Thanks for the clarification, Steve. I do beg everyone's pardon. When I'm wrong, I'm wrong and I have no qualms or embarrassment about admitting it. We're all here to learn, and there are only two patterns I was familiar with. So I do appreciate being corrected.

I have also seen many references to the fact that china and linens were not exclusive to one ship or other, so that they could easily be interchanged from one ship to another. However, the WSL or OSNC logos did appear, did they not? Please correct me again if I am wrong.

Kyrila
 

Steve Santini

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Nov 22, 2000
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Hi Kyrila,
Yes, you are correct. In 99% of the cases, all patterns of china were made to be interchanged between ships. The exceptions are of course special "custom" patterns like I have mentioned earlier, i.e. R4332 etc. On the linens, the name "White Star Line" usually appeared inside a "belt and buckle" sort of round logo which was embroidered or raised into the actual material. Linens were also festooned with embroidered stars in various sizes. On the silverware used by the line, it was always marked with either the White Star burgee, sometimes a border or trim of stars, and usually has the words "White Star Line" stamped into the base next to the maker's name and date cypher. NO WSL silver service I have ever seen for ANY of the ships of the line has the OSNC logo either stamped or etched into the silver plate. On silver service, only the WSL house burgee appears. The OSNC logo was reserved for certain china patterns and the odd pattern of table linen only. The only items on WSL ships to ever bear the name of the vessel were the numerous sovenir items sold in the barber shop. Many of the silverplate bud vases , napkin rings and tea strainers we see from these barber shops usually have a seperate "medallion" sort of plaque affixed to them with solder. These plaques often have the name of the ship in a "belt and buckle border" surrounding a house flag of the line or simply a white star. These affixed plaques were in colour with the different hues being applied by a baked on enamel process. The house flag appears it's proper red colour while the surrounding border with the ship's name in it is often blue. Any item like this from a White Star ship was most certainly bought in the barber shop and was intended as a sovenir. Such items with a vessel's name WERE NOT ever part of the regular on board table service. Pardon me for going on and on and on! Hope I have not bored you all to death. Regards, Steve Santini
 

Steve Santini

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Nov 22, 2000
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UPDATE on "Titanic Plates" situation:
Hello all,
For those of you who have been following this thread, I thought I would bring you up to date with some recent developments in the ongoing saga and research into the alleged "Titanic Plates". A few mornings ago, I recieved a call from a Mr.John Cross who is located in the U.K. Mr. Cross, as it turns out, is the owner of a number of these "Titanic plates" as well as a number of other items allegedly taken off of Titanic by one Mr. George Frederick Bull. After introducing himself and stating he was calling me because of some comments I had made about the authenticity of a "Titanic bud vase" he had recently sold at auction, Mr. Cross went on to tell me of all of the wonderful Titanic artifacts he holds. He also went on to tell me of all of the "movers and shakers" he knows in the Titanic community. Finally, after for politely listening to Mr. Cross for what seemed a very long time, I spoke up and told Mr. Cross that indeed I had a problem with the authenticity of the alleged "Titanic plates" and also the many reasons WHY I had a problem. I informed him his provenance document had serious conflicts (such as listing a WSL employee as being retired in 1928 when in fact the same document later goes on to prove the man was in fact still working for the company in 1930/31,etc). There were indeed problems. Most notably, I asked Mr. Cross where he had optained the information that Thomas Andrews had asked George Frederick Bull to remove a number of china plates from Titanic following the voyage from Belfast to Southampton (Sean and Mrgot had earlier posted this information on this thread). Mr. Cross responded by telling me that it was his understanding that Thomas Andrews did not want anything "used" on the ship prior to the maiden voyage so he ordered that the china plates that had been used on Titanic to be removed by Mr. Bull. Mr. Cross also explained that this was what had occured in the case of the Smoking Room floor tiles which had been "discoved" at Harland and Wolff some years back. Actually, on my pressing the point, Mr. Cross went on to say that it was not actually Thomas Andrews who told Bull to remove the plates but was in fact the serectary of Mr. Andrews who told Bull to remove the plates from the ship (acting on the wishes of Andrews himself!). At this point I could take no more and I informed Mr. Cross that neither Thomas Andrews (who worked for Harland and Wolff), nor his personal secretary, would have ANY authority to tell ANY WSL employee what to do with WSL property. Seizing on this opportunity, I immediately followed up with all of my other opinions and proof which suggested these plates were not taken off of the Titanic. Mr. Cross was both civil and patient enough to listen to each and every one of my points and even said at the conclusion that I had raised some very important questions concerning the plates and that he hoped he "had not made a big mistake". I would assume he meant he had not made a mistake in assuming that they had come from Titanic when they may very well have not. While I was on the phone with Mr. Cross, I also took the opportunity to ask him about a silver bud vase which had recently been sold at auction in the U.K. for the sum of 12,000 pounds sterling. I asked him if he had been in communication with the company who originally made the vase. He assured me he had and told me the company was still in business and that they still had the original molds used to make the vase. I asked him if the company still had any paper work at all which showed that A) They had recieved an order from WSL to make such items for Titanic, or B) There was any paper work which showed that had made such items for ANY of WSL's vessels. He informed me that he did not know but would "look into it for me". (I have recently spoken to someone familiar with this bud vase who informed me that the vase was hallmarked in 1902; which means it was made a full DECADE before the Titanic;s maiden voayge!) We then spoke at some length about other assorted WSL and Titanic items which had come to auction over the years and we ended our phone conversation with Mr. Cross saying he would like me to fax him all of my "problems" with the provenance, and my saying that I held no mallice towards Mr. Cross personally and that I appreciated his phone call. I further told him I would continue to research this matter until it reached a logical conclusion. He in turn told me that he too would like to get to the bottom of these things and "put the matter to bed". This should have been the end of this story (and this thread) but recent developments have assured that it is neither. The other night I recieved an e mail from Sean and Margot where they informed me they knew I had spoken to Mr. Cross. What rubbed me the wrong way about their e mail was the comment, and I quote; -"I would very much like to place a post on Encyclopedia Titanica, for everyone who maybe viewing the controversial posts to let them know about my personal plates, I would very much appreciatte if you could also post that John has spoken to you and that you are now aware and know that these plates both myself, John and Philip have are genuine, I would be very grateful as John and Philip would be I am more than sure."- I responded to Sean and Margot by e mail stating: -"I did indeed speak to Mr. Cross. He spent most of the conversation telling me at length about his fantastic collection of authentic Titanic items. Problem is, when I pointed out problems and conflicts with individual items, and indeed, asked some specific questions concerning known Titanic history and how it related to these items, Mr. Cross did not produce either accurate enough or believable enough answers to support the alleged provenance. As for the plates and your request that I now post to ET that they are obviously genuine, I will post no such thing."- This was how I felt then and this is STILL how I feel now about these plates, if not more so. In all of this and through all of this debate and opinion posting, I NEVER said I felt this was a deliberate fraud, NOR did I ever make any derogatory comments about anyone's personal motivation , ethics, or morals. I have merely reported my research, asked A TON of questions, and mentioned the concerns of a number collectors and researchers. Now it would seem, there is a concerted effort being brought to bear to try to pressure me into changing my opinion. Well, until I see some more direct proof instead of mere conjecture, supposition, and assumption of facts, I WILL NOT change my opinion on these items. That IS MY RIGHT as it is also MY RIGHT TO SIMPLY HAVE AN OPINION. And, in my case, my thoughts and concerns and even opinions have been supported by the comments, literature, and actions of others as well as personal research into Titanic artefacts which spans more than 20 years. One more point of interest; I asked Mr. Cross if he had the 1912 White Star Line diary which Sean and Margot mention in a number of posts. Mr. Cross informed me that he in fact did not have the diary and that another party owned it. He aslo said to me the owner of the diary would "only release the contents of the diary a little at a time". Most curious. I personally would love to see the part in this "diary" where George Frederick Bull writes that he was told by Thomas Andrews' personal secretary to take the used china off of the ship in Southampton! And now the topper: Today Mr. Cross called me again and left a message (I was not in). He said that he was displeased at what he heard I had been saying about him and he wanted me to call him back. He said he would not stop trying to call me until he had got a hold of me. I would now ask any and all of you who may read this thread to please go back and see if I have said anything bad about Mr. Cross, his morals, character, or reputation. I have not. Like I said, I have merely asked a lot of hard questions no one seems able to logically answer. I have to also wonder why Sean and Margot would write to me and ask me to reverse my position on this matter when I made it very clear to Mr. Cross I was not convinced of authenticity and that I saw a lot of problems with the provenance. Well Sean and Margot, if you are reading this, please do not call up Mr. Cross right away and have him phone me in an attempt to change my position. He tried that once and I still feel the way I did before. And, while you are at it, please tell Mr. Cross I do not wish to speak with him again on this matter so I would appreicate it if he would stop phoning me. And finally, the same goes for Sean and Margot as well. Please do not contact me and waste my time, or try to pressure me into changing my mind. Also, please do not speak to others about what I have allegedly said and/or written and put words in my mouth I did not either say or write. I do not appreciate the way you all have approached this issue and I do not wish to be annoyed with this matter any longer. I have done research on this and so have others. The facts as they currently exist do not seem to support the claims or provenance. Regards, Steve Santini.
 
Jan 7, 2002
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This may seem a naive question- Im a book collector, so forgive me here- but didnt china used on liners have writing, a series of numbers, etc, on the back that would indicate the specific ship to which the plate(s) was alotted? Them again, if china on Cunard,White Star Liners, etc was interchangeable between ships in their own lines, i suppose the writing would not be there..

Regarding the plate issue- Steve Santini has been collecting Titanic items for years, and the man knows his stuff, and Id certainly take his word over this chap harassing him on the phone....


Regards


Tarn Stephanos
 

Steve Santini

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Nov 22, 2000
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Hi Tarn,
Thanks for the nice words. The numbering or associated lettering on the back of WSL china items are in fact the pattern registry numbers. This is sort of like a patent or copyright on the pattern design the china is actually decorated with. In some cases additional numbers present serve as a "date cypher" to denote when a particular pattern was registered. On many of the Stonier WSL pieces, the actual date of manufacture is hand painted on the back or underside of the piece. Pattern registry numbers DO NOT denote which ship any particular piece of china is assigned to. Regards, Steve Santini.
 

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