Where was the Rubaiyat


Feb 14, 2011
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Any theories as to where the jeweled copy of the Rubiat was being stored? In general cargo? The specie room? Was it with a courier on board? One friend believes it may have been entrusted to Ismay, and might be in that box seen in his wardrobe in 2001......


tarn Stephanos
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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The volume wasn't actually worth a great deal, Tarn, so special treatment was unlikely. It had been bought at auction in 1912 for about 400 pounds.
 

Matt Smith

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Sep 23, 2002
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Somewhere in A Night To Remember it says which cabin and who had it. Sorry but I don't remember what it said. Hope this will help someone else remember.

Matt
 

Bob Godfrey

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Just weeks before the Titanic sailed the volume had been auctioned at Sotheby's. In a previous thread George Behe identified the buyer as Gabriel Weis. No doubt there are more details in 'Lost on the Titanic' by Robert Shepherd, which tells the story of the book. Shepherd is the current owner of the company which, as 'Sangorski & Sutcliffe' crafted the jewelled binding in 1911. While it was certainly their most extravagant effort to date, the binding was not (as even Walter Lord described it) 'priceless'. It was worth a few hundred pounds - less than the value of the baggage of even some 3rd Class passengers.
 

Brian Nevius

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Jul 9, 2004
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Imagine...finding the real jeweled copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. I've read some of the book....it's a wonderful book of medieval Persian poetry, if you're into poetry. From what I understand, it was being stored in the Titanic's cargo hold somewhere and went down with the ship.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Tarn,

In all honesty, I think that it was definitely stored in the specie room. After all, the room was there for the more expensive/secret/official parcels crossing the Atlantic. The ADB did a VERY nice story on the postal rooms I think in the early 90's, they mentioned that 10 (or was it 5 -- for some reasons both numbers stuck in my mind) were being transported in the specie room.

Daniel.
 
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Joshua Doyle Tift

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Any jewel weather it be a diamond or a different stone is worth money. So the book would be worth a great sume if found in todays dollers.
 
J

Joshua Doyle Tift

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Weather its $40,000 or forty million. A book covered with gems and gems of any kind would be worth more that that. Plusethe Titanic name will make it more valued. Gems don't loose there value especially if they are part of history. Given the time period the book has gone up in value just as any other piece of jewelry from 1912 would. You cant buy a diamond pinky ring from 1912 for just three hundred doller's. You will have to pay far more because of the time it was made in.Any jeweler will tell you that.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Nope, the figure sounds about right. But you're right, any association with the Titanic would push the price up. I'd wager that you could gather even a tiny, almost insignificant item from the debris field and it would go at auction for a hefty sum.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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The value isn't as much on the item as much as it is on that item's association with the Titanic. A coat button alone would no doubt be in the thousands $$$.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Weather its $40,000 or forty million. A book covered with gems and gems of any kind would be worth more that that.<<

Possibly. The problem is that if the book survives and can be recovered, it would have to be subjected to some very expensive and time consuming conservation efforts otherwise, it would soon disintigrate to mush and end up with a value of about zero, the gems notwithstanding. It's not for nothing that marine salvage is called a good way to make a very large fortune into a very small one.

Assuming you recover anything of value at all, by the time you get done paying all the bills and the taxman, you seldom end up with much and it's not unknown for a salvager/treasure hunter to end up owing money.
 
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Cornelius Thiessen

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Is it a 100% done deal that the Rubaiyat was on board the Titanic? Shoot me for not naming a source, I have a memory like a sieve, but I recall reading somewhere that it was only rumored the Rubaiyat was on board.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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The evidence is confined to newspapers, as far as I know. The one I have handy is The Times of 22 April 1912. I've seen it in other papers, so it's as well attested as anything involving Titanic. Where it was is a mystery. It's not specifically on the cargo manifest, but it may have been in one of the cases of books listed. Even in 1912, £400 didn't buy much in the way of diamonds or rubies.

In 1912, its value evidently was due to its intricate workmanship, rather than the jewels. I believe they were only semi-precious stones.
 
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Brian R Peterson

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Hi Dave,

I've seen a few photos of the book in question and its been described that:

...the cover was fine morocco leather inlaid with a peacock design of gold and studded with over one thousand tear shaped rubies and emeralds

The jewels were very small of course, as anything larger would have made the book much more expensive

It was purchased at auction in 1912 for £405, and today would be worth about $40,000 USD / £21,785.46

Best Regards,

Brian
 

Bob Godfrey

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I regard the Rubaiyat (adjust spelling according to preference!) as one of the Titanic myths. I say this not because I have any doubts that it was there, but because of Walter Lord's unfortunate use of the word 'priceless', which provided it thereafter with the aura of a fabulous treasure. In fact it had no status as an antique (it was almost brand new), was representative of a level of craftsmanship which was not rare at the time, and had been acquired for the price of a good quality family car, or one-third of Captain Smith's annual salary. On Titanic, there were numerous items consigned as general cargo which were worth more than the Rubaiyat. In short, we are not talking treasure here. I suspect that if the volume had never been associated with the Titanic and it came up for auction today it would be regarded as a twentieth century curio without much appeal to serious book collectors, who would rather spend their money on books than gemstones.
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Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Looking at some of the specialist book sites, I see that the cover of the book was not like one with the the golden peacock many of us have seen. It actually had three peacocks and the lower part of the cover consisted of a Persian ud, (something like a lute). The ud was made with thin inlaid wood and ivory. Descriptions of the jewels vary a bit. There were 1050 of them and they are described as topaz, garnets, rubies and other relatively cheap stones. There was a great deal of fancy leather work in the book, as well as in the cover. That's the only hope of any of it still existing in some kind of book form.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Quite a bit of paper has survived on the wreck- so the book may still exist- at the very least the gems and semi precious stones that encrusted the boards of the book are still there, though probrolly loose...

it's interesting the mythology that surrounds this particular copy- i read one account that suggested the book was encrusted with diamonds, emeralds, rubies and pearls...
 

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