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  • The Titanic embarks on its maiden voyage, April 10, 1912.

    Beatriz Camino

    The Titanic embarks on its maiden voyage, April 10, 1912.

    The RMS Titanic, an ocean liner of the White Star Line, tragically sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on April 15, 1912, following a collision with an iceberg. The disaster claimed the lives of over 1,500 individuals with only 705 survivors.

    The Titanic

    The Royal Mail Ship Titanic, part of the Olympic-Class liners along with RMS Olympic and RMS Britannic, was launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast, Northern Ireland on May 31, 1911. Constructed with 300 frames and 2,000 steel plates affixed with 3 million rivets, the ship featured 16 watertight compartments designed to render it virtually unsinkable in case of hull damage. With a displacement of 66,000 tons and measuring 269.1 meters in length, the Titanic was an engineering marvel, necessitating the construction of a new dock at its homeport in Southampton.

    The grandeur of Titanic’s interior was unmatched, offering unprecedented luxuries for its passengers. Amenities included Turkish baths, a gymnasium, squash courts, covered promenade decks, and even a swimming pool. First-class accommodations boasted opulent dining rooms, lounges, and a reading room, rivalling the most lavish hotels on land.

    Notable figures aboard included Captain Edward J. Smith, esteemed as the White Star Line’s most experienced captain, along with prominent individuals such as John Jacob Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim, and Isidor Straus. The ship also carried ordinary passengers, including immigrants seeking a fresh start in the Americas.

    The Tragedy

    The Titanic embarked from Southampton on April 10, 1912, with stops in Cherbourg, France, and then Cobh, Ireland, with over 2,200 individuals on board. For the initial four days of the voyage, all proceeded smoothly. However, on April 14th, the ship’s radio officers received six warnings of ice in the Atlantic. Captain Smith, in response, altered Titanic’s course to a more southerly direction, while maintaining its speed.

    At 11:40 pm a lookout spotted an iceberg from the crow’s nest and urgently relayed the message to the bridge. First Officer William M. Murdoch swiftly reacted, ordering the engines to reverse, the ship to turn hard to port, and all watertight doors to be sealed. Despite these efforts, the Titanic collided with the iceberg, sustaining a glancing blow that went unnoticed by many passengers. However, below deck, crew members immediately felt the impact as torrents of seawater flooded the compartment. As the severity of the situation became evident, orders were given to extinguish the boilers' fires, but the flooding persisted, weighing down the ship at the bow.

    By 12:05 am, Captain Smith made the decision to abandon the ship. Crew members began preparing the lifeboats, rousing passengers from their cabins, and distributing lifejackets. Women and children were prioritised for boarding, followed by couples and single men. As the situation worsened, distress signals were sent out, but the closest vessel, the Californian, remained unresponsive due to its wireless being shut down for the night. Meanwhile, the Carpathia, located 58 miles away, promptly responded and steamed towards Titanic’s location. Despite the efforts of crew members and passengers, the Titanic succumbed to the icy waters around 2:20 am, with only a fraction of its passengers and crew surviving.

    When the Carpathia arrived at dawn, it encountered a scene of devastation, with debris scattered across the ocean. Rescuers managed to save 705 survivors from the lifeboats, while several hundred bodies were recovered, leaving a grim toll of 1,502 lives lost. The survivors and victims were transported to New York, where a significant portion of the deceased remained unidentified.


    Following the sinking of the Titanic, the world was plunged into mourning and introspection. King George V himself expressed profound sorrow at the loss of so many lives and extended sympathy to the families affected by the tragedy. Concurrently, the disaster catalysed extensive endeavours to enhance maritime safety standards and regulations, both in Britain and on an international scale. Notably, official inquiries were conducted in the US and England, culminating in the establishment of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.

    The sinking of the Titanic shattered humanity’s confidence in its mastery over the elements, marking the end of an era characterised by engineering triumphs. The loss of such a meticulously designed and appointed vessel foreshadowed even greater disasters to come in the 20th century.

    The saga of the Titanic has captivated the public imagination since that fateful April night. Immortalized in poetry, music, and film, one lingering question remained: the whereabouts of the ship. In 1985, Robert D. Ballard embarked on a groundbreaking search for the Titanic, succeeding in locating the wreck on September 1st of that same year. Subsequent expeditions, amidst controversy, salvaged over 5,000 artefacts and extensively documented the wreckage, ensuring that the legacy of the Titanic endures in history.


    George V 1917 Sovereign London Mint AU58, rarest of the reign for LondonGEORGE V 1911 GOLD PROOF TWO POUNDS, CORONATION ISSUEGeorge V. Crown. 1928.

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