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Well, we just cannot stop thinking about that ship that sunk many years ago, right? Perhaps the end is near.
The company that owns the collection of thousands of artifacts salvaged from the RMS Titanic has been drowning for quite some time now. In fact, they filed for bankruptcy in 2016.
Now the artifacts – up to 5500 of them, including a bronze cherub from its grand staircase, sets of china from its dining rooms and a section of its hull, which were rescued from the famous ocean liner, are set to go on auction this month.
An opening $19.5 million bid has already been made by three hedge funds, and a bankruptcy judge in Jacksonville, Florida, ruled that if a rival bid raises the offer by $2 million, then the collection will go to auction. The items would all be sold together, rather than individually. Chinese investors are also said to be interested in the auction
The auction also includes salvage rights to the ship, meaning that the winning bid can also reclaim further items from the wreck site.
This is not the first time that items from the ship will be going on auction. Several items in the past have raked in pretty sums for Premier Exhibitions, owners of the items.
A letter written few hours before the ship hit an iceberg on April 15, 1912, fetched as much as $166,000 last year, a cracker from a survival kit went for $23,000 while a violin played by the band leader as the great ship sank down was sold for $1.3 million in 2013.
Other items in the collection include papers, documents and photographs, a passenger’s three-diamond ring; window grills from the first-class dining area; and the bell a crow’s nest lookout rang to warn the crew of an iceberg ahead. They lie in Premier Exhibitions’ museum.
The possible auction is, however, the latest twist to a long, heated debate about the artifacts from the ocean liner. For years, a group of UK museums have been fighting to secure the exclusive rights to the artifacts and display them in London and Belfast, where the ship was built.
James Cameron, director of the 1997 movie based on the disaster, and Robert Ballard, the oceanographer who initially discovered the wreck have lauded the move by the UK museums.
National Geographic, in support of the move by the museums, stated that Ballard didn’t bring any of the wreck’s artifacts to the surface, thus he couldn’t secure salvage rights, paving the way for RMS. Titanic Inc., a subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions to claim total ownership of the wreck site.
Conal Harvey, deputy chairman of the attraction Titanic Belfast, released a statement saying, “These artifacts are of great historical importance and they stand a chance of being split into different places, and lost as an identifiable collection.
Once the biggest liner in the ocean ever built, The Titanic sank almost 3.2km below the sea on its debut voyage, killing more than 1400 of the 2200 passengers on board.