Auctions feeding interest in shipwreck

By Randy Boswell - Windsor Star

Relics from doomed ship hit the auction block on Wednesday in the biggest sale ever from 'Titanic'.

There's a ghostly deck chair and a heart-wrenching locket, a poignant last letter to a young man's parents, a White Star Line candy dish and a massive hunk of the doomed vessel's hull - anything and everything with a genuine link to the world's most famous shipwreck catastrophe seems to be up for grabs in time for the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic's first and last voyage.

But would-be buyers harbouring hopes of owning a piece of Titanic history might find their plans going the same way as the great luxury liner itself - lost in a sea of competitive bidders.

And given the feverish interest in Titanic-themed auctions ahead of Saturday's centenary of the April 1912 tragedy, it may be the bank accounts of winning bidders that are ultimately headed for a shocking plunge.

The biggest sale ever of Titanic relics is set to take place Wednesday in Richmond, VI., where more than 5,000 objects retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean seabed since the wreck's discovery in 1985 are to be auctioned by Guernsey's as a single collection - as ordered by a U.S. court - to preserve its historical integrity.

"Titanic is slowly being consumed by iron-eating microbes on the sea floor and, at some point in the not-too-distant future, it will be only a memory," Premier Exhibitions and RMS Titanic Inc.'s Mark Sellers, chairman of the firms that controversially plucked objects from the wreck site and later toured them at commercial exhibits, said in announcing the sale earlier this year.

"Many of the artifacts we've brought up from the site would have disintegrated and been lost forever had this company not risked life and limb, and spent millions of dollars and countless hours to raise and rehabilitate them using cutting-edge conservation techniques," Sellers said.

"After all of these efforts, we have determined that the time has come for us to transfer ownership of this collection to a steward who is able to continue our efforts and will preserve and honour her legacy."

Titanic 100 years Indiana State Museum Indianapolis James Cameron Captain Edward Smith White Star Line Belfast Joseph Bruce Ismay Molly Brown