Massive Trove of Titanic Artifacts Headed for Auction

Insert your own "My Heart Will Go On" joke here.

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Oli Scarff / Getty Images

A woman examines the Titanic's crows nest bell in an exhibition of artifacts recovered from the wreck of the Titanic on November 3, 2010 in London

As fans of the Titanic (the shipwreck and/or the movie), we know you’ve already booked your trip on the Titanic Memorial Cruise, the trip that will retrace the path of the Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage on the disaster’s centennial. So what else does a Titanic groupie have to look forward to in 2012? How about more than 5,000 items salvaged from the ill-fated ship heading to the auction block?

(LIST: Top 10 Most Expensive Auction Items)

The owner, an apparent avid collector of artifacts salvaged form one of the world’s most infamous shipwrecks, has decided to put the collection up for sale to the highest bidder. According to CNNMoney, the collection was appraised in 2007 at a value of over $189 million. Since then the collector has added even more valuable trinkets pulled from the salty depths.

No word on whether a nude portrait of Kate Winslet is included in the lot, but even if it was up for sale, the piece would be unavailable for individual purchase. Premier Exhibitions, the auction house who currently owns and displays the items around the world, has opted to sell all the items in the collection as one lot. So if you want to purchase the hypothetical Kate Winslet portrait, you must also purchase deck chairs, silverware and whatever else was pulled out of the briny deep by intrepid divers. According to the article on CNN, the artifacts in the lot were collected by salvage divers over the course of several dives over several decades, from 1987-2010.

Premier Exhibitions plans to announce the results of the auction on April 15, the anniversary of the ship’s sinking. Several other events are planned around the 2012 anniversary, including a re-release of James Cameron’s 1997 masterpiece Titanic in 3D and a reasonable sounding trip on a Russian submarine that will take passengers down to the wreckage.

And about that Kate Winslet sketch: Sorry, but it was already auctioned.

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