Over five thousand items recovered from the shipwreck of the luxury liner Titanic will be put to auction in April 2012, 100 years after the sinking of the ship on its maiden voyage. The artifacts, which comprise the largest trove of Titanic relics, will be sold as a single lot at Guernsey’s auction house in New York City.
The Associated Press reports that the valuables recovered from the shipwreck in the Atlantic have an estimated value of $189 million. That figure, however, is based on a 2007 appraisal and has not taken into account more recent intellectual properties found during a 2010 scientific expedition of the wreck that helped map the site.
The auction will take place on April 1st in New York City, according to papers filed by Premier Exhibitions Inc. with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Premier Exhibitions Inc. is the parent company of RMS Titanic Inc, which is the the Titanic's court-approved salvor, says the Associated Press.
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While the auction will take place on April 1st, the winner of the auction will not be announced until April 16th, the 100 year anniversary of the ship’s sinking.
Included in the auction will be thousands of items that were gathered over seven expeditions to the site of the shipwreck in the Atlantic. The relics range from fine china, to ship fittings, to portions of the hull of the ship.
The winner of the precious trove of artifacts, however, will be required to adhere to the “covenants and conditions” established by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith who has overseen the Titanic’s matters from her Norfolk courtroom. The conditions that were set in place in 2010 include “a prohibition against selling the collection piecemeal,” as well as a requirement that RMS makes the artifacts available "to present and future generations for public display and exhibition, historical review, scientific and scholarly research, and educational purposes."
The shipwrecked Titanic, which is some 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, was first explored in 1985 by Robert Ballard. Several expeditions followed his, including some that gathered film for the 1997 mega-hit film ‘Titanic,’ directed by James Cameron.
The relics that were gathered have been touring in exhibitions that are managed by Premiere Exhibitions, the same company whose shows have “included sports memorabilia, a traveling Star Trek homage and "Bodies," an anatomy exhibit featuring preserved human cadavers.”