Diver who salvaged £50m of gold from ship puts historical items up for sale
By Gillian Bell - The Press and Journal
Historical objects owned by a diving engineer who salvaged £50million of Russian gold from a wartime wreck will be sold at auction later this month.
Ric Wharton is selling a selection of the contents of Midmar Castle, near Echt, which was put on the market last year for offers over £3.5million.
Lots include a deep-sea diving helmet, a large collection of arms and a rare bronze cannon.
The cruiser HMS Edinburgh was sunk in 1942 after being torpedoed on the return leg of a voyage from the west coast of Scotland to Russia while carrying Soviet gold as payment to the US for military supplies.
Mr Wharton gambled Midmar to help fund the £3million operation to recover the ship’s treasure from the Barents Sea after rating his diving company’s chances at only 10% to 20%. When the expedition was successful in locating and recovering the haul in 1981, he used his share of the salvage reward to fund the restoration of the 16th-century castle and its collection.
Campbell Armour, of auction house Lyon and Turnbull, said: “Midmar is known as the first of the five great castles of Mar and contains many treasures collected by the gold bullion adventurer.”