Titanic artifacts: coal dust to gold dust
One thing that will always amaze, if a little perturbed me, is the merchandise of Titanic coal. Yes, coal. That controversial supply that was such a scarcity in April 1912 it was purloined from the bunkers of owners IMMs lesser ships to fuel the Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage.
I can imagine anyone in Edwardian Britain would boggle at the notion of coal finding a use as anything other than its combustible purpose. But today we hold a little more respect for the black stuff and rather than toss it onto the fireplace to warm us we now sculpt and mould it into works of art like watches and paperweights and so forth. Although nowadays we even revere it, especially if heaved up from the seabed having once been bunkered in the holds of RMS Titanic.
A modest sum can purchase one pieces of coal that have indeed journeyed on the Titanic itself. It is momentarily tempting but is certainly no new fad either; tons of it has been surfaced as trinkets and sold to any suspecting enthusiast willing to own an inexpensive trinket from the most famous ship in history. Although for me it’s like buying a star – an actual piece of the heavens you can call your own. You know from your chart where your star is and where it will always be for millennia to come, and although insignificant it will remain all yours for eternity, but you soon realise that above all the only gold in it is the money that you spent acquiring it.
Although acquiring my own piece of coal was not something I haven’t not been tempted before to procure myself, this longing to own something of perpetuity is a calling beyond the material possession, and the fact of owning a piece of undying cultural value is something worth a second look. But when you return to your senses, a lump of coal it will always ever be. But we all know that had it not been for its provenance it will be just one step away from the rubbish bin, but it never will, because we also know, with the Titanic all that glitters really is in every sense solid gold.