Some of these priceless artifacts are no doubt lost forever. But who knows what you might find submerged in the North Atlantic?
A 1912 Renault Type CB Coupe De Ville
The Renault CB coupe owned by first-class passenger William Carter was the only automobile thought to be brought onto the ship. Both Carter and his family survived the sinking, and he later made a $5,000 insurance claim for his brand-new automobile. Historians say the Renault was held in a cargo hold on the front of the ship, which remains mostly intact on the ocean floor. While the value of the actual recovered vehicle is unknown, in 2003 a similar Renault was sold at auction for $269, 500. The real version, if ever recovered, would surely fetch millions.
Coupe De Ville 1
Coupe De Ville 2
Wallace Hartley’s Violin
While Titanic sank, violinist Wallace Hartley and his fellow musicians continued playing. Their final song was reported to be “Nearer My God To Thee,” performed until they could no longer remain above water. A surviving passenger claimed Hartley’s last words to his bandmates were, “Gentlemen, I bid you farewell.” When Hartley finally went into the water, he reportedly tried used his leather bag as a floatation device and put the violin, a gift from his fiancée Maria Robinson, inside it. The bow was too long to fit inside. Hartley’s body was found 10 days later, along with his water-damaged violin. Robinson requested it back, though the instrument was presumed lost. In 2006, the violin was discovered in Robinson’s attic by an amateur musician. The old instrument still had an engraved plaque on it that read, “For Wallace on the occasion of our engagement. From Maria.” After seven years of study, it was verified authentic, and went up for auction in 2013. The violin fetched a whopping $1.7 million, and is considered to be one of the most important artefacts ever recovered from the Titanic.
Five Steinway Grand Pianos
Underwater footage of the Titanic wreck shows a still standing and mostly intact grand piano. In fact, there were five grand pianos on the ship, three of which were for first class passengers. Among those three was Steinway’s crown jewel, the Model B, which was specially customized for the ship There was also a Model R, which was discontinued in 1942, and a Model K, which remains in production to this day. A 1912 refurbished Model M from Steinway was recently put up for auction for nearly $35,000 dollars; imagine how much the actual sunken pianos are worth.
Four Cases Of Opium
John Jacob Astor IV, one of the world’s richest men, also went down with the Titanic. The American Astor family made their fortune in fur trading, and later, opium. In 1909, though, the US Congress outlawed “smoking opium.” Somehow, four cases of opium presumably belonging to Astor still made it onto the Titanic – only to wind up on the bottom of the Atlantic.
Cases Of Opium 1
Cases Of Opium 2
A Merry-Joseph Blondel Painting
Many expensive pieces of art were onboard the Titanic when it sank – though, thankfully, not the Picassos depicted in James Cameron’s blockbuster. One piece of art that was on board was La Circassienne au Bain by artist Merry-Joseph Blondel, created in 1814. La Circassienne au Bain was brought on board by Swedish businessman Mauritz Håkan Björnström-Steffansson. Steffanson survived the disaster, and later demanded $100,000 for the lost painting. It was the largest claim made against the White Star Line for a single item.
Blondel Painting 1
Blondel Painting 2
A Handwritten Manuscript By Joseph Conrad
In 1898, Joseph Conrad’s Tales of Unrest was published. The collection of short stories included Karain: A Memory, the third short story Conrad had ever written. Conrad sent a handwritten copy of Karain: A Memory to an American collector. The manuscript wound up in the Titanic mailroom, along with the other 7 million pieces of mail that now rest underwater.
First Edition Essays By Francis Bacon
Book collector Henry Elkins Widener went on a book hunting trip to England in 1912. There, he bought a rare, miniature 1598 first edition of essays by famed English philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon Widener’s incredible find came with him on the Titanic. When disaster struck, he ensured his mother and her maid went onto a lifeboat. Widener himself was not so lucky. He and his precious tome ended up below the waves. Supposedly, the Bacon book was slipped into his tuxedo pocket.
A Jewel-Encrusted Edition Of The Rubáiyát
The Rubáiyát is a book of poems by Medieval Persian philosopher and mathematician Omar Khayyam (1048-1131 CE). English writer and poet Edward Fitzgerald translated the poems to English for the first time in 1860, and they were published to great acclaim. In 1911, the publishing house Sangorski & Sutcliffe made a particularly lavish copy of The Rubáiyát. It featured a Moroccan leather cover, decorated with embroidered peacocks and more than a thousand gems set in gold. The impressive volume went on exhibition in England before being auctioned off to an American buyer for a little over $2,000. It was loaded onto the Titanic to be shipped to its new owner. In the unlikely event The Rubáiyát is recovered from the ocean, it would be worth an estimated $120,000.
An Autographed Picture Of War Hero Giuseppe Garibaldi
Emilio Ilario Giuseppe Portaluppi was returning to the United States on board the Titanic after visiting his native Italy. Among his valuables, Portaluppi claimed he was carrying a signed photograph of Italian war hero Giuseppe Garibaldi. Portaluppi later made an insurance claim of $3,000 for the picture. Portaluppi was one of the four incredibly lucky people saved when Lifeboat 14, headed by Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, went back to look for survivors. According to some reports, he kept himself alive by clinging to a chunk of ice.
Picture Of Garibaldi 1
Picture Of Garibaldi 2
China Plates And Cups
Each class on the Titanic had a different set of china, and many of the dishes are still intact at the bottom of the ocean. Reproductions of Titanic dishes are a hot commodity for collectors. When some genuine recovered plates and tea cups went up for auction with some other items in 2012, the value of the entire collection was estimated at a whopping $189 million dollars.
Jewellery Owned By First Class Passengers
After 73 years underwater, Titanic was finally discovered by Dr. Robert Ballard in 1985. Two years later, an expedition descended the 12,000 feet and discovered a small leather satchel. When they brought it up they were shocked at what they found: a collection of fine jewellery, still in pristine condition decades later. Among the jewels were necklaces, rings, brooches, cufflinks and even a pocket watch. According to scientists the tanning process used to make the leather bag was able to fight off underwater microorganisms, and protected the jewellery. Who knows what other valuable pieces went down with the ship?
The steward’s pocket watch
The pocket watch belonged to a first class steward on the ship, named Edmund Stone. He held the master keys to the first class cabin. The watch stopped ticking at 2:16am – likely the exact moment that Edmund Stone landed in the icy Atlantic waters. When it was sold in 2008, it set the record as the most expensive Titanic object, at a €130,000 price tag. But that record has since been broken.
pocket watch 1
pocket watch 2
A full length beaver fur coat
Not many pieces of clothing made it beyond the ship, but the full-length beaver fur coat belonging to first class stewardess Mabel Bennett did.
A Marmalade Machine
Miss Edwina “Winnie” Celia Troutt, was 27 years-old and traveling back to America from a visit to England, where she assisted her sister in giving birth to her child. She was originally set to sail on the Oceanic, but she was transferred to the Titanic because of a coal strike delaying some voyages. When the ship hit the iceberg. She put on her heaviest coat and encouraged her roommate to hurry up, at one point tossing the woman’s corset down the isle while telling her this was no time for a corset. She filed a claim against White Star Line for her lost marmalade machine.
One of the first-class passengers aboard the Titanic was a perfume maker from England by the name of Adolphe Saalfeld. His satchel and vials sank with the ship and there they remained for 89 years until 2001, when they were discovered by members of an artefact search team. When they brought the satchel to the surface and back onto their ship and opened it, they were overwhelmed with the aroma of lavenders and roses from the Edwardian perfume. Some of the vials had broken, but most were, amazingly, intact.
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