Commemorative coins and medals often play a prominent role in marking centennial milestones. While a few such items are being issued this year to observe the 100th anniversary of the great tragedy at sea that occurred shortly before midnight on April 14, 1912, it is the objects recovered from the wreck of the RMS Titanic and those passed on by survivors that hold the most meaning.
In our cover story Senior Staff Writer Jeff Starck sets the scene from the construction of the floating palace, to its embarkment from the English port of Southhampton, to the hours and minutes before an iceberg struck the starboard (right) side of the ship’s bow.
The Titanic’s numismatic legacy is multifaceted. Medals awarded to rescuers as well as medals issued to recognize those who worked to establish a relief fund to provide financial support to widows and descendants of those who perished have surfaced in the market in recent years.
The 1985 discovery of the Titanic resting on the ocean floor some 12,400 feet below the surface, subsequent salvage missions and TV documentaries helped to renew public interest and expand the knowledge base of the long-ago tragedy. Then, in 1997, Hollywood brought Titanic to the big screen, and world mints and private issuers rode the wave of interest by issuing commemorative coins and medals. Thus, as we approach the centennial, a formidable body of medals, coins and Titanic related collectibles exists from which one can draw to form a great collection.
As spring gets under way in North America, Starck also points us to a sports collecting theme that is as American as apple pie, yet global in interest and fan base. Beginning on page 139, we learn it’s time to play baseball and an ideal time to open a new collecting interest: coins and medals that celebrate the game.
If challenge and adventure are integral to your “collecting game,” be sure to check out Michele Orzano’s feature focusing on “Private Bank Notes of the Plains” that begins on page 171.
The focus is on obsolete notes from Nebraska. The “journey” includes exploring the history from the first U.S. Army post west of the Missouri River, to formation of the Nebraska Territory, to statehood and beyond. ■
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