CNS News reports:
The owner of the largest trove of artifacts salvaged from the Titanic is putting the vast collection up for auction as a single lot in 2012, the 100th anniversary of the world’s most famous shipwreck.
More than 5,500 items including fine china, ship fittings and portions of hull that were recovered from the ocean liner have an estimated value of $189 million, according to Premier Exhibitions Inc., parent of RMS Titanic Inc. — the Titanic’s court-approved salvor. That value was based on a 2007 appraisal and does not include intellectual property gathered from a 2010 scientific expedition that mapped the wreck site.
The auction was approved in a federal district court:
U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith, who has overseen the case from her Norfolk courtroom, has ruled that RMS Titanic has title to the artifacts and was entitled to full compensation for them. She has not determined how RMS Titanic will be compensated.
Smith, a maritime jurist who has called the Titanic an “international treasure,” has approved covenants and conditions that the company previously worked out with the federal government, including a prohibition against selling the collection piecemeal.
The conditions, which accompanied a 2010 ruling, also require RMS to make the artifacts available “to present and future generations for public display and exhibition, historical review, scientific and scholarly research, and educational purposes.”
The Royal Mail Ship Titanic sank in April 1912 after hitting an iceberg:
The Titanic‘s sinking claimed the lives of more than 1,500 of the 2,228 passengers and crew [or 67 percent]. An international team led by oceanographer Robert Ballard located the wreckage in 1985, about 400 miles off Newfoundland, Canada.
Titanic occupies a wreck site 3 miles by 5 miles in extent, two and a half miles down. Her stern lies in the mud nearly half a mile from her bow.