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With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s maiden voyage approaching, commemorating the date and remembering those who were lost has never been so important. One of the best ways to celebrate the majesty that was the Titanic and mourn those who lost their lives in the disaster is Titanic memorabilia. Signed portraits of survivors, the most recently famous being of Milvina Dean, the last survivor of the Titanic shipwreck to die, pieces of the Titanic itself, and other artifacts recovered from the wreck have become famous pieces of Titanic memorabilia.
Originally rediscovered in 1985, the Titanic shipwreck has been revisited a handful of times with cups, bowls, and even the ship’s whistle have been recovered and either displayed at the National Maritime Museum or sold as memorabilia at auctions. Other pieces of Titanic memorabilia include news pieces from the time period, stamps to commemorate the event, and even classic books telling the tale of survivors have become popular pieces.
Certain pieces of Titanic memorabilia have become wildly popular collectors items with a cup from the shipwreck going for between $20,000 and $25, 000 at a New York auction. Items such as Titanic deck chairs are valued for around $50,000 and only five pieces have been authenticated as such. The rarity of finding Titanic memorabilia that is not already on display at the National Maritime Museum or in the hands of a different Titanic exhibit is extremely rare and a coveted prize among antique collectors.
Another facet of Titanic memorabilia consists of items that were not even on the ship. Items from the Oscar winning movie by James Cameron also go for quite a bit of dough. A painting celebrating the movie is valued at around $40,000. It seems that every piece of Titanic memorabilia has a high price regardless of its origin.
Many pieces of Titanic memorabilia have stories connected to them and are part of a collection of artifacts and personal effects of survivors of the tragedy. John Gill, a second-class passenger on board the Titanic, had courted Sarah Elizabeth Wilton Hoder for two years before he married her. On April 2, 1912, he left his bride in England and purchased a second-class ticket for the Titanic’s maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. He intended to set up a new home for himself and Sarah in America. He did not survive the Titanic disaster, but some of his belongings did, and are part of the auction. Canvas Bag 155, the canvas bag that held John Gill’s personal belongings. Estimate: $25,000 to $30,000.
No matter the level of rarity or origin of Titanic memorabilia, the value comes at a high price and further increases the value for collectors to get their hands on a piece of history. Titanic memorabilia remains one of the most sought after antiques in the collecting world.