The Titanic's deadly voyage has captivated everyone from history fanatics to film buffs for years. So if you have millions of dollars to spare and are prepared to face off with James Cameron, know that 5,500 salvaged artifacts will be auctioned off this week.
The current owner of the artifacts, Premier Exhibitions, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014 and the company is now selling all 5,500 items as a complete lot. Items in the collection include a sapphire ring, a bronze cherub from the ship's staircase, and the rights to any future expeditions.
According to a 2014 estimate from a fine arts appraiser, the collection is worth a cool $218 million.
But even the wealthiest individuals are up against some seriously stiff competition. Word on the street is that Robert Ballard, who discovered the remains of the ship on September 1, 1985, and Titanic director James Cameron both plan to participate in the auction.
“Jim is dedicated and has a certain passion for the site,” oceanographer David Gallo, who led a 2010 expedition, told The Los Angeles Times. “He would really like to see the collection stay together.”
Ballard is understandably concerned that a private buyer wouldn't properly preserve the collection. Furthermore, he doesn't want the historical artifacts to be kept out of the public eye and “lost to the world at large." Ballard, too, has expressed interest in acquiring the collection so neither of these things happen.
Letters of intent to submit a stalking horse bid for the Titanic assets was July 21.