The Titanic is Found 

M6346Titanic photomosaic made up of hundreds of tiny ocean-related pictures including coral reef, exotic marine life, waves, and even icebergs.

More than 70 years after one of the world’s most famous ships tragically sank, it was discovered largely intact on the ocean floor on September 1, 1985.

The sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912 was one of the worst – and most well-known – maritime disasters ever. More than 1,500 people lost their lives and new measures were taken to make future ships safer.

Over the years, many people wanted to raise the ship, but this was easier said than done. No one knew for sure where exactly the ship had sunk. The location of the distress signal turned out to be inaccurate and researchers’ calculations varied. In the early 1980s, Jack Grimm sponsored several missions to find the ship, but had no luck.

Robert Ballard, an oceanographer and Navy captain was convinced he could find the Titanic, if he had the funding. The Navy agreed to fund his trip, as long as he first located and photographed two Cold War-era sunken submarines. Once he completed that mission, Ballard was ready to find the Titanic. He developed a new system to explore the ocean floor – named Argo/Jason (after the Greek myth). Combined, they were a remote-controlled deep sea video vessel towed by a swimming robot.


Ballard launched his first expedition in July 1985. After three weeks, he found nothing. But then he began thinking about the ship’s debris field. Because the Titanic had sank over a course of more than two miles, it would’ve had a huge debris field. If he could find some of the debris, it would lead him to the ship. Ballard launched a new expedition on August 24, this time looking for the debris field. The first week was uneventful, but then, on September 1, 1985, a boiler was located – the first sighting of the Titanic underwater.

This discovery reinvigorated the search and soon they found the ship’s main hull. To their surprise, much of the ship was still largely intact. The crew cheered and celebrated, and then went silent, as it was nearly 2 a.m., approaching the time the ship had sank over 73 years prior.


The next year, Ballard led another expedition to explore the wreck. In the 1990s, the RMS Titanic Inc. received the rights to launch expeditions and collect artifacts from the ship. They found more than 5,000 items, ranging from china dishes to leather trunks filled with bank notes. In 1998, they lifted a 20-ton section of the hull and made it part of a traveling exhibit.

Despite the excitement over the discovery, not all think it’s a good thing. Some argue that it violates a sacred resting ground. And the repeated expeditions have caused the ship to deteriorate much faster than it would have had it never been discovered. Some scientists have speculated that the wreck could be completely destroyed 50 years from now. However, its discovery has answered a lot of questions about what happened that cold April night 101 years ago.

Click the images to add this history to your collection.



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  1. This is a great story to go along with the history of the ship and the times people lived in. I’m surprised however, The Titanic shown on US Celebrate the Century stamp, Scott # 3191 L was not shown in the article. Also, maybe the USPS should develop a series of famous “Ships lost at Sea”.

  2. The story mentions Ballard found much of the ship largely intact. I had been led to understand that the hull had split in two as it sank. Over the years, nothing diminishes the huge, tragic impact the Titanic’s sinking has made on all.

    1. I mean, the ship split in half when she sank, but the bow section was highly in tact when she was found, but the stern was highly destroyed and mangled when that half was discovered.

  3. For me today is the anniversary of the invasion of Poland and the beginning of the second world war in which my father served and lost many of his friends. It is not a pleasant memory but a reminder of the futility and cost of war.

  4. As mentioned by Charles Kerbel, the Titanic broke in half as it sank, and the two portions of the hull were found about a half a mile apart.

  5. God almost always draws good out of bad. As the article points out, the Titanic disaster brought about a number of new safety laws regarding number of lifeboats, monitoring the distress frequency, etc. The Titanic may well have saved more lives than she took.

  6. Great information. To me, finding the main hull and marking it for historical reasons should have sufficed. I think exploring and exploiting the wreckage was a desecration of the final resting place of all those who died there and their memory.

  7. Generally speaking, a very good series. Please keep it up. But on the other side, how could you miss Germany attacking Poland, the start of WWII? Probably the most important event in our lifetime. Im only 80 and was too little to participate. There are lots of WWII dates coming. Are you going to skip them all? Pearl Harbor, D Day, fall of Corregidor, MacArthur return to Philippines, Japan and Germany surrenders, Atom Bombs, etc. the list goes on and on. I realize your focus is stamps, but the series is titled This Day IN HISTORY, not stamp history.

    1. Hi Warren,

      Thank you for your comment. There has been some discussion here at Mystic on the selection of topics. Although we have, and will, continue to select many war-related events in history, we will also attempt to strike a balance with other, non-war related events. And we will keep your comment in mind when striving to reach that balance.

  8. I can understand the person who stated that there was a lot of other instances of history concerning the years of world War II. I myself have enjoyed your days in history, and I know like he said that you are exposing the stamps which represent days in history, he can go to other sources and get the complete description of all those event he mentioned at another source than what you are presenting. You are doing a great job in presenting the stamps that were originated during the periods of time you are presenting for us who are stamp collectors. Thanks again for a wonderful job.

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