Tragic Titanic voyage remembered with a silver foil ticket and boarding pass

If you have even the most cursory interest in history or the sea, you’ll have heard of the tragic maiden voyage of the Titanic. This huge and luxurious ocean liner was just five days into her first commercial voyage when she struck an iceberg and sank into the icy waters of the North Atlantic, taking 1,500 people with her. It’s one of the landmark events of the early 20th century, so it’s no surprise to see it appear on numerous coins over the years.

This time, however, we’re looking at one of the relatively new silver foils. We much prefer this format to be used at times when a relatively tiny coin will struggle to do the job, and that’s certainly the case here. A reproduction First Class ticket, with a similar Boarding Pass on the back, is something that would just look ridiculous on a 40 mm diameter coin. The canvas simply isn’t expansive enough to do justice to the fine detail of what is essentially, a text document.

A banknote-style 5.0 gram foil, it carries a coloured copy of the ticket on its reverse face. An original ticket, the only one surviving, is held by the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool. It was owned by the Reverend Stuart Holden, who because of his wife becoming suddenly ill, had to cancel his voyage. He kept it as a symbol of his good luck after having it inscribed with the words ‘Who redeemeth thy life from destruction’. The obverse is an amalgamation of elements. Divided into three areas, the first two depict reproductions of both sides of the Titanic boarding pass. The last third has the usual Cook Islands denomination details, including the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, who was born just 14 years after the tragedy.

The mintage limit is set at 1,912 pieces. A neat idea, this is a good example of why silver foils have a valid place in modern numismatics – offering a space to use that isn’t practical on a traditional coin, particularly for the sub €40 price of these. Available to pre-order now, we’d suspect that if it’s popular, we’ll see more of these from Powercoin. We hope so, as this Italian producer has a knack of issuing some very interesting designs like Micro-Mosaic Passion, Eternal Sculptures, and Revolutionary Masks.

R.M.S. TITANIC

Weighing in with a displacement of  52,310 tons, the White Star Line operated and British-built ocean going liner Titanic, was a wonder of its time. Fast (up to 24 knots), long (269.06 m) and luxurious, she was the largest ship afloat at her launch, although a later sister ship, Britannic, was planned to be even larger and more luxurious.

Launched on 31 May 1911 at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast and completed on 2 April 1912 at a cost of £1.5 million ($144.5 million in 2018), she set out on her maiden voyage on 10 April 1912 and was on the ocean floor just five days later. A story almost everybody knows, this majestic ship hit an iceberg while on her maiden voyage to New York City from Southampton, and over 1,500 of her 2,224 passengers and crew perished in the icy North Atlantic waters.

The sinking caused worldwide outrage and a stiffening of maritime safety regulations and training standards. Titanic only carried 20 lifeboats, capable of holding 1,178 people, even though there was capacity for 48 of them. Her watertight compartments, of which there were sixteen, were too heavily compromised by striking the iceberg below the waterline. If the berg had damaged four compartments, she may have survived. It damaged five.

The wreck was discovered in 1985 at a depth of 3,784 m. Much has been recovered, such is the interest in this most iconic of vessels, but she remains on the sea bed, broken into two large pieces, to this day. The subject of countless books, documentaries, and one of the biggest box office hits of all time, the name Titanic has almost become a byword for disaster. Her sister ship Britannic, while serving as a hospital ship, was sunk by a naval mine on the morning of 21 November 1916 near the Greek island of Kea. Despite being in wartime, and despite carrying 1,065 people, only 30 people lost their lives, in stark contrast to her tragic sister. The last of the sisters, Olympic, had much better luck, ending her career after almost 25 years of service in 1935.

Bold Precious Metals
SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $1 CID (Cook Islands)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 5.0 grams
DIMENSIONS 150 x 70 mm
FINISH Prooflike
MODIFICATIONS Colour
MINTAGE 1,912
BOX / COA Sleeve / Yes