The Titanic… and newspapers…

April 11, 2012 by  
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Few newspapers in 20th century world history are more desired that those which report the sinking of the Titanic. The combination of the scale of the tragedy, it being the maiden voyage of the world’s largest ship, it claiming to be unsinkable, and the loss of some of the wealthiest & more famous names in America, all combine to make for a desirable event. And add to this the tremendous success of the 1997 movie and interest explodes. We find that interest is piquing once more with the re-release of the successful movie, which begs the question: Just what do collectors desire most in this report?

From comments by collectors and what they pay for the best we have offered through the years, the “best of the best” would include:

* As huge a headline as possible. Type with letters 3 issues tall are more dramatic & displayable than those with letters half an inch tall.

* The words “Titanic” and “Sunk” somewhere within the headline. The more dramatic the headline the better.

* A banner headline–which stretches from edge to edge–rather than a two column headline. For many newspapers that was simply not their format. But banner heads have always been more desired than small headlines.

* Not necessarily first reports. Many reports dated April 15 tended to have sketchy reports, smaller headlines, and inaccurate statements. Several noted that the Titanic was being safely towed into port. Issues dated April 16–when more accurate information was known–tended to be not only more historically correct but more dramatic as well.

* Best condition possible. Those which came from bound volumes tend to be in great condition since they were protected within the volume for 100 years. Never-bound issues tend to suffer from wear and staining.

* Complete issues only. Front pages only might be fine for display but maximum  desirability is only for issues with all published pages.

* A graphic. Some newspapers used a pre-existing photo of the Titanic. But of more interest are artists’ renditions of what the sinking may have looked like. Some were very dramatic. The larger the better.

* Famous titles such as the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, etc. tend to have more desirability, but a dramatic presentation will always trump a famous title.

Note:  To view a selection of Titanic disaster headlines on Pinterest, go to:

The Titanic Sinks – Historic Newspapers

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2 Responses to “The Titanic… and newspapers…”

  1. Paul Sarna on April 11th, 2012 10:24 pm

    I actually like the Titanic issues that have reports that say the Titanic has struck an iceberg, but all passengers are safe. I have had, for instance, (not a banner headline) one that read “Titanic Crawls to Halifax”.
    Obviously not as good as the “iconic” Titanic issues, but pretty fascinating and it adds to the depth of newspaper collecting.

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