Probably the most famous shipwreck in history, the tragic tale of Titanic’s maiden voyage has become the stuff of legend, featuring in countless movies, TV series, and books, as well as starring in the usual smattering of conspiracy theories that inevitably do the rounds when incidents like this occur. Setting sail from Portsmouth on 10 April 1912, on her way to New York, she was at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean just five days later.
Displacing 52,310 tons, the 269.1 metre long passenger liner was the largest ship afloat at her launch, and the very definition of luxury travel. Capable of 24 knots at full speed, she was built at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, and was the second of three sister ships built for the White Star Line. When she left Portsmouth, she had on board some 2,224 passengers and crew, including some of the wealthiest people of the time.
She stopped at Cherbourg in France, and Queenstown in Ireland, before heading west, but at 11:40pm on the 14th April, around 375 miles south of Newfoundland, she hit an iceberg while travelling at speed. She was designed to stay afloat if four of her sixteen watertight compartments had been compromised. The iceberg ripped open five. About 160 minutes later, she broke apart and sank. A little over 700 people were rescued, sometimes from lifeboats that were not even full…
Now a byword for disaster, and still the biggest peacetime loss of life from a cruise liner, the aftermath of the sinking saw a wholesale revision of maritime safety law. In 1985, the wreck was discovered at the staggering depth of 3,784 metres, mostly in two large pieces. Some items have been recovered, but she remains a memorial to the more than 1500 people that died that day.
The Titanic has featured on many coins over the years, from kilo-sized, to the small, even including a piece of coal from the wreck, in one 2012 example. With interest in the disaster as high as ever, we still get to enjoy some interesting new coins, often employing cutting-edge minting techniques. Industry favourites CIT and the Mint of Poland have both released new coins for 2022, but have taken wildly different routes to the end product.