British museums and US hedge funds battle over £15m Titanic treasure haul including a golden nugget necklace gifted to ‘the Unsinkable’ Molly Brown’
- 5,500-strong haul taken from wreck will be auctioned in Jacksonville, Florida
- Includes 15 rings, necklaces and pins dredged from the Atlantic Ocean floor
- British museums want to house the collection in Titanic’s home port, Belfast
- Film director James Cameron is backing the British bid to repatriate the objects
British museums and US hedge funds are locked in a bidding war for more than £15million worth of treasures from the Titanic, including a golden nugget necklace gifted to ‘the Unsinkable’ Molly Brown.
The 5,500-strong haul is being auctioned in Jacksonville, Florida, and includes 15 rings, necklaces and pins dredged from the ocean floor during seven excavations of the wreck between 1987 and 2004.
The collection, which a judge ruled must be sold whole, also encompasses a blue sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds, which bears a strong similarity to Princess Diana’s wedding ring, which was later given to Kate Middleton by Prince William.
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The 5,500-strong haul is being auctioned in Jacksonville, Florida, and includes 15 rings, necklaces and pins dredged from the ocean floor during seven excavations of the Titanic wreck. Pictured: The ship embarking on its ill-fated maiden voyage in 1912
Other items offer a reminder of some of the 1,500 lives that were lost when Titanic sank in 1912, reported The Times.
These include a pocket watch owned by South African hotel owner Thomas William Solomon Brown, who died after putting his wife and daughter on a life boat.
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A golden necklace own by Margaret Brown, a socialite who was dubbed ‘the Unsinkable Molly Brown’, also survives. It was a gift from her mine owner husband, JJ Brown.
In addition there is a bronze cherub from the grand staircase used by first class passengers and a remarkably intact leather hat.
A golden necklace own by Margaret Brown, a socialite who was dubbed ‘the Unsinkable Molly Brown’, also survives. It was a gift from her mine owner husband, JJ Brown
This leather bowler hat is another of the items in the sale. It was owned by Premier Exhibitions before the firm went bankrupt
Jewelry and personal artifacts from the collection. Premier Exhibitions filed for bankruptcy protection in the US two years ago
The collection was put up for sale after its owners, Premier Exhibitions, filed for bankruptcy protection in the US two years ago.
The British museums want to raise enough money to repatriate the objects to Titanic’s home city of Belfast and are backed by James Cameron, who directed the most famous film about the disaster.
‘One of the concerns is that the collection would be broken up, sold privately,’ he said.
‘The bankruptcy court might award the company the opportunity to break up the collection, to sell it piecemeal, and it would disappear from the public eye.’
A golden cherub that adorned the grand staircase in first class (left) and socialite and philanthropist Margaret ‘Molly’ Brown c.1900 (right)
James Cameron, who directed the most famous Titanic film in 1998, is backing British efforts to repatriate the objects
Earlier this year, a silver pocket watch owned by a Russian passenger on the White Star Line flagship sold for $57,500 at auction.
It was owned by Sinai Kantor, who was travelling with his wife Miriam when the ship went down.
The antique watch featured Hebrew numbers on the face, and an image of Moses holding the Ten Commandments on back.
Salvaged wedding and engagement rings on display in Sweden in September 2017. They are now part of the collection on sale
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