Value of TAOS


Jo Rodriguez

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Apr 24, 2006
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Ok I just read in an old post that somebody paid $750 for a copy of TAOS. I have a hard cover, first edition without it's dust cover and I'm thinking now that perhaps I need to mention this to my insurance company. My copy was given to me so I had no idea of it's monetary value although I was aware that it's hard to find.
 
Nov 12, 2000
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Jo is referring to Ligholler's autobiography, Titanic and Other Ships. That price of $750 was definitely on the high side. Perhaps that copy had the scarce dust jacket? That might explain the price, or if it was sold between 1998 and 2000 when everything Titanic went through the roof because of Cameron's movie.

A solid copy in good condition is selling today for about a third of the price you quoted. Sometimes a bit less, sometimes a little more - it really depends on the book seller if it is a sold through a retail site. An auction site could drive the price higher if several collectors get into a bidding war.

You didn't mention what condition your copy is in and that does make a big difference. The rougher the condition, the less value it is going to have.

all the best,
Michael (TheManInBlack)
 
Jul 12, 2003
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Personally, I think the book is only worth what a TITANIC collector is willing to pay for it. To someone else, it will not be worth anything.

Remember Beanie Babies and how there were some pieces that were called collectors items? Well, they were collectors items but only to Beanie Babies collectors. There are way too many of those things out there to be considered rare anyway.

I have a first edition of the book "Peter Pan" (and "Black Beauty" come to think of it) complete with dust cover that belonged to my grandmother. I doubt if that is really worth tons of money...except to someone who is a "Peter Pan" fan (no Michael Jackson jokes, please).

Just an opinion...still insuring it is up to you. Setting aside what someone else paid for it...would you pay that much for it? How many other copies are out there (this will also affect its true value--again, to a Titanic collector--not someone who has no interest in the ship)?
 

Jo Rodriguez

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Apr 24, 2006
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Thankyou Michael,
I would say my copy is in fair condition. The corners are pretty dog eared and there is a stain on the cover. I don't want to sell it, but I'm thinking about insurance value. What would it cost to replace it? That was what I thought about when I saw that old post last night.
 

Jo Rodriguez

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Apr 24, 2006
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I have to say I am not a Titanic collector. I'm not even particularly interested in Titanic. (I know that's almost blasphemous to say in this forum. Sorry.) TAOS is an interesting account of an extraordinary life. It's a story that I think appeals to a broader range of people than just Titanic collectors. In fact Titanic isn't even the main focus of most of the book. I think there are only 6 chapters that deal with Titanic.
The book has value to me because it belonged to my Grandfather and because it is by and about a contemporary of my Great Grandfather (who was a WSL captain). It gives me a view of the kind of life my G.Grandfather lived that I can't get from other sources.
If the book was somehow lost I would definitely want to replace it. It is, I believe, a very scarce book and yes the monetary value of the book is no doubt driven by Titanic collectors But I can't buy it for less because I'm not a Titanic collector. It is the same as most things in this life -- they are only worth what someone will pay for them. It just so happens that for various reasons people are willing to pay quite a lot of money for this book.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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It really does depend, Jo - I've seen signed copies go for well over 1,000 pounds, and unsigned copies of the second edition go for a few hundred. Copies can go for silly prices once they get on ebay (I've seen a few bidding wars over this title). Prices may have dropped a bit now that it's available as an electronic text in countries were copyright permits. I had one fortunate friend pick up a second edition for under 50 quid.

I think you're valuing your copy for all the right reasons. I respect bibliophiles who buy books for the sake of collecting and who delight in rarity, binding and other factors, but I love books because of their content or for purely sentimental reasons (well...I do have a few more elaborately bound or valuable books which I value for more than their intrinsic beauty!). Your reasons for being intrigued by the book are the same as why I love Masefield's work on HMS Conway, or Bullen's work on the merchant service, or autobios like those by Bisset or Bestic. They give valuable information about what life was like for merchant officers in that transitional period between sail and steam, and are often shot through with both pathos and humour. Bisset's recollections of Percy Hefford, for example, are both amusing and terribly poignant, given the fate that eventually befell him on the Lusitania. TAOS does so much to humanise Lightoller - it's a great yarn (although not always complete as a autobiography - there are frustrating ommissions).
 
K

Kathryn Smith

Guest
I have a British first edition of The Loss of The Titanic by Lawrence Beesley.It is signed by a woman named Margaret her last name starts with a D and the initials LFD are written under it with the date July 1912.The contents of the book are in very good condition the outside is worn. Is there any value to it?