Titanic memorabilia value

What is it about the Titanic?

The ship went down in the north Atlantic in 1912 – well over 100 years ago.

But our interest shows no sign of abating.

Still it sells newspapers, books and movies.

Auction houses trade in relics from the wreck.

I want to take a look at what’s driving demand for Titanic memorabilia.

Let’s start with:


Since 1912, there have been at least 17 feature films made about the Titanic.

Almost immediately after the event, the sinking was presented as a Greek tragedy.

Titanic memorabilia value

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

And, as in Greece, certain myths took hold.

No one claimed the Titanic was unsinkable before it went down.  

And the ship’s designer John Ismay is given a bad rap. The narrative that he behaved like a villain originated in the 1943 movie Titanic, filmed in Nazi Germany.

Ismay was Jewish.

The inherent drama of the tragedy makes it irresistible to filmmakers.

There are so many facets to it – it’s ripe for reinterpretation.


As one of history’s most famous tragedies, demand for memorabilia associated with the event is high.

Titanic memorabilia value

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

And the limited availability has driven prices through the roof.

The record was set for the violin bandleader Wallace Hartley played as the ship went down. It made £900,000 ($1.1m) when it crossed the block in 2013.

Documents are also popular. In 2018, a menu for the last meal served aboard the ship (on April 14, 1912) sold for $125,000.

Meanwhile, a set of keys to the crow’s nest binoculars case realised £90,000 ($118,522) in 2007.

These prices reflect just how few items have been recovered.

Most of the ship remains on the sea bed.

And while some pieces have been salvaged, there's a general consensus that the site is a mass grave and should remain undisturbed.  

A lost time

Part of the appeal of Titanic memorabilia is its connection with another time. The belle époque came to an end with the first world war in 1914.

Titanic memorabilia value

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

In its glamour and confidence, the Titanic has always seemed to me a figurehead for this era.

It represents the boundless optimism of the time.

And its sinking, two years before the outbreak of war, was like a premonition of what was to come.

The end of one world and the beginning of another.

No wonder people find it to be such a powerful story.  

Paul Fraser.

PS. Do you have a piece of Titanic memorabilia you’re looking to sell? I may be able to help. Get in touch today at info@paulfrasercollectibles.com.

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