Titanic for sale $189 million

The entire salvaged collection of over 5,000 artefacts from RMS Titanic are going up for auction in New York this April, just before the 100th anniversary of its sinking. Court rulings stipulate that all must be sold as a single lot, which is valued at an estimated $189 million.

20120106 Euronews Titanic

There have been debates about whether recovering these artefacts was an act to preserve history (as iron-eating microbes slowly devour the wreckage), or an act of grave robbing.

A reason to insist that the artefacts are kept as a single entity is to prevent an incoherent disperson, with individuals bidding for a White Star line tea cup to put in their display cabinet.

Whichever individual or organisation wins this auction will have a tremendous responsibility for the preservation and mandated public display of the items.

Indeed, the current custodian, Premier Exhibitions (which oversees RMS Titanic Inc.), acknowledged the considerable expense of maintaining the collection.

To me, it is regrettable that this treasure is being sold off under such terms. That is, while it surely is worth its value, and no government agency or museum in Northern Ireland has this kind of money to invest, I would have liked to have seen some philanthropic beneficiary from the sale.

It would be fitting to have a substantive display of these artefacts in the place where the Titanic was built, here in Belfast.

Perhaps the winning buyer will consider this. (Time for me to ring up the Titanic Foundation.)

Some photos published by Reuters of some items in the auction lot:


Original post at http://mrulster.org/titanic-for-sale-189-million






  • Drumlins Rock

    considering the amount of items the ideal solution would be those museums with a strong interest to come together and rotate the display of the main items, in Belfast, Southhampton, Halifax NS, and possibly New York, but keep it as on collection under a trust of some sort, certainly we don’t want it ending up in Disneyland or the like!

  • For once the NI Exec should be bold and buy. Put it on the rates and massively expand the Titanic area at the docs for exhibition. Alternatively, Sammy is always finding money. If you are serious about tourism this is a once in a lifetime… Better plan than reduction in Corporation Tax, and far fewer cuts!

  • john

    I agree buy buy buy. If we are serious about the titanic quarter then this one of opportunity should not be missed! Sounds like a lot of money but its all relative.

  • Comrade Stalin

    For once the NI Exec should be bold and buy.

    I disagree. It would be a disgraceful waste of taxpayers money, we waste far too much on Titanic bullshit as it stands.

    I can understand why the court order is ruling that the collection must be kept together, but this may backfire by negatively effecting the viability of any organization set up to try to maintain it.

  • wild turkey

    Comrade S

    intuitively i agree with both points you make.

    however, i would be curious to know if any of the potential buyers; including the ni exec, have carried out a cost benefit analysis as to whether the purchase of the collection would generate a stream of income to justify the initial purchase price and subsequent expenditure on mounting an attractive exhibition, cataloguing, etc. etc.

    at the end of the day, pounds and pence calculations must trump whatever inherent sentimentality may inform a purchase of the collection. ironically, the same sentimentality may fuel a demand to view the collection is sensibly exhibited.

    To paraphrase thedissenter… For once, NI Exec should be bold…. and astute.

    oh yeah, which govt dept would be responsible for the expenditure? DCAL? and would said expenditure garner the necessary cross-community support? again, just curious.

  • dwatch

    Agree or disagree with Alex Kane he does have a point. One wonders will all this Titanic hype become a big white elephant and forgotten about after 2012 has passed?

    “ALEX KANE: Interesting year for history and politics”

    “I will also do everything I can to miss the Titanic “celebrations”. Is it just me or is the whole Titanic circus a curiously morbid obsession? Okay, it may have been “alright when it left here”, but it still managed to hit an iceberg and sink. Where’s the mystery? We’re not talking about the Bermuda Triangle, or the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, or an act of terrorism, or the sheer oddity of Easter Island. What we have is a classic tale of human error, tragedy, heroism and, most worryingly of all, naked commercialism. There is clearly a Titanic industry out there, complete with tea towels, beer mats, key rings, mobile phone covers, cut-and-paste literature and ghoulish tours. And for all of the claims about “the historical importance” of the story, isn’t it astonishing how much of the treasure trove ends up in one sort of auction or another?”