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Titanic Coins Make Use of Many Media
March 27, 2012

There have been several innovative design elements used on Titanic commemoratives this year. For me, the most stunning was the issue by Fiji which features a mother-of-pearl carved insert. Very well done with a dramatic effect. It is too bad that a research assistant did not find the factoid that the fourth funnel was for ventelation, and not smoke. It was added for effect, to match the elete Cunard Liners of the day – the Mauretania and Lusitania, which both had four funnels. (After all a ship with three funnels could not be faster than a ship with four (but it was).

The Cook Islands oval entry, however, is visually distrubing to me. I do not mind the pad printing for the design, it is a nice choice. It took me several sightings to realize that the large break in the side of the ship is an insert of a fragment of recovered coal. (Coal recovered from the debris field is the only salvaged Titanic item which can be legally owned, and there were tens of thousands of pounds of it). For a long time it looked to me as if the ship was hit in the side with a missle. The marketing of the item in the second hand market very often does not point out the small fragment of coal.

The second Cook Island entry to include a fragment of coal is successful in the execution of both the simple design as well as the placement of coal. A good researcher also has the proper number of funnels with smoke (although a bit heavy in the execution).

Our next post will offer up some medallic tributes.


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About the Author
George Cuhaj has been with the Krause Publications numismatic team since 1994. He is editor of the various editions of the Standard Catalog of World Coins and the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money. Prior to joining KP, Cuhaj was employed by the American Numismatic Society and Stack's Rare Coins, both of New York City. He is a Fellow in both the Royal Numismatic Society and the American Numismatic Society. He also is a life member and past board member of the International Bank Note Society. Cuhaj was elected an Allied Professional Member of the National Sculpture Society and has had his medallic work exhibited internationally.

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