11 Most Expensive Things That Were Lost Forever Along With the Titanic
We are pretty sure that you remember the ship that sank back in 1912 after striking an iceberg; yes, the Titanic, the most well-known shipwreck in the 20th century. The tragedy took the lives of women, man, and children, and that's why it is considered a disaster with significant losses.
But sadly, lives were not the only aspects that were gone in the famous sinking. As you might know, the passengers on board the British liner where some of the wealthiest people in the world, immigrants from Ireland, the UK, Scandinavia and other European countries looking for a new life in the US.
With them, a number of extremely priceless artifacts also went down to the bottom of the ocean. You would never imagine what things the Titanic carried, but luckily for you, we will tell them all in the following article, ranging from the cheapest to the most costly one. Get ready to delve into the depths of the ocean.
One of the wealthiest men that went down with the Titanic was John Jacob Astor IV, an American businessman who made his fortune from fur trading and opium, despite the US Congress law that banned smoking opium some years before. However, four cases of this drug made it onto the ship and presumably belonged to Astor.
10. Francis Bacon's first edition essays
The English philosopher needs no introduction since his work is still very influential. During his book-hunting trip to England in 1912, collector Henry Elkins Widener purchased a miniature 1598 first edition of Bacon's essays. Sadly, the volume was in Elkins' tuxedo pocket when he drowned, but it'd be a highly valued object today.
9. Giuseppe Garibaldi's autographed picture
Garibaldi was an Italian general and war hero who contributed to the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. When Emilio Ilario Giuseppe Portaluppi was going back to the US after a visit to his native Italy, he brought with him a signed photo of the famous nationalist.
Portaluppi was one of the luckiest people to be found by Lifeboat 14 when it went back to look for survivors. He kept himself alive using a chunk of ice to be able to float. Later on, he made an insurance claim of $3,000 for the picture of his war hero.
8. Joseph Conrad's handwritten manuscript
Joseph Conrad wrote and published Tales of Unrest in 1898, a short stories collection that included his third one, Karain: A Memory. The writer sent a handwritten manuscript to an American collector that was in the ship's mailroom.
According to The New York Times, a facsimile manuscript of the Polish-British novelist could be sold in $3,900, although it is safe to assume that a handwritten version of a man who is considered one of the greatest novelists in the English language would be worth in much more than that.
7. Steinway pianos
Steinway & Co is an American-German company founded in 1853 that makes some of the world's finest handcrafted pianos, and these pieces, to be exact, five, even made their way to the Titanic. Three instruments were owned by first-class passengers, and among them, there was a Model R, discontinued in 1942.
There was also a Model K that is still produced, and Steinway's masterpiece, the Model B, which was uniquely customized for the ship. Just to have an idea, a 1912 refurbished Model M from the company was auctioned for almost $35,000. We can't imagine the value of the sunken but intact pianos, according to the underwater footage.
6. A painting by Merry-Joseph Blondel
Thankfully, no Picasso sank in the real shipwreck as it is depicted in James Cameron's blockbuster. However, there was an expensive piece of art that was lost in the tragic event. It was La Circassienne au Bain, a painting that artist Merry-Joseph Blondel created in 1814.
Its owner was by Swedish businessman Mauritz Håkan Björnström-Steffansson. He survived the disaster and later claimed $100,000 to The Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, commonly known as the White Star Line for the sunken painting, the highest claim for a single object.
5. A jewel-encrusted edition Of The Rubáiyát
Perhaps it doesn't sound familiar, but between 1048-1131 AD, the Persian mathematician and philosopher Omar Khayyam wrote The Rubáiyát, a book of poems. In 1860, an English version of the work was published, and in 1911, Sangorski & Sutcliffe, a publishing house, made an opulent copy of the piece.
It was an edition featuring a Moroccan leather cover embroidered with peacocks with encrusted gems in gold. The sumptuous volume was actioned off for a bit more than $2,000 to an American buyer. Therefore, it was loaded onto the ship to reach its new home. It's still inside the ocean, but if it's ever recovered, it'd cost $120,000.
4. Wallace Hartley's violin
As you might remember from the movie, some musicians were playing Nearer My God To Thee while the ship sank, and they did it until they couldn't remain above the water. One of those was violinist Wallace Hartley, who claimed, "gentlemen, I bid you farewell," before dying, according to a survivor.
Hartley tried to use his luggage case, where he put the instrument that his fiancée had given him, as a floatation device, but the music couldn't help him at that time. Wallace passed away, and his body was found 10 days later. His water-damaged violin with an engraved plaque that read, "for Wallace on the occasion of our engagement" was also discovered.
It was given back to Maria Robinson, his bride-to-be. Surprisingly, the instrument was refound in 2006 in Robinson's attic after her death. It took years to verify if it was authentic, and it was! After seven years, it went up to auction in 2013 and was sold in $1.7 million, making it one of the most valuable items recovered from the liner.
With first-class and wealthy passengers, a lot of jewelry is to be expected. Dr. Robert Ballard discovered the liner in 1985, after 73 years of the event. Two years later, an expedition found a leather satchel that was a collection of fine jewelry in pristine condition.
Apparently, the tanning process used on the leather bag was able to protect the pieces underwater from aquatic microorganisms. Inside the small case, there were necklaces, cufflinks, brooches, rings, and a pocket watch. The latter, according to Catawiki, was sold for the whopping amount of €130,000 in 2008.
And if that surprised you, you won't believe the price of a diamond bracelet with the name "Amy" engraved that was also found. Catawiki reported that the piece was put up to auction and sold for nothing less than €1.7 million. We cannot imagine the total if we sum up the rest of the items.
2. A 1912 Renault type CB Coupe De Ville
It is believed that the Renault CB coupe was the only automobile on the ship. According to historians, it was held in a cargo hold that was in the front of the liner. It was owned by William Carter, a first-class passenger who was traveling with his family. Fortunately, he and his family were among the survivors.
Later on, he made an insurance claim for the brand new car that sunk, and although the actual price of the recovered vehicle is still a mystery, a similar Renault was auctioned in 2003 and sold for $269,500. However, it is said that the real version would fetch millions if it is ever recovered from the ocean floor.
1. China Plates And Cups
As well-off passengers, each class on the ship had different sets of china, most of them are intact underwater, according to the underwater footage. So when some recovered plates and teacups were auctioned in 2012, the complete collection, with some other objects, was valued in the staggering amount of $189 million.
The Titanic's shipwreck shook the world back in 1912 and still does it in our present days. We are pretty sure that if more items are ever recovered, our current list will inevitably grow. Did you know about these objects? Share this article with your friends, so they get to know them as well. Until next time!