Thousands of Titanic artefacts to be sold at auction

The Titanic file image The Titanic, bound for New York City, sank on her maiden crossing of the Atlantic Ocean

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Thousands of artefacts recovered from the Titanic are to be sold at auction 100 years after the ocean liner sank.

Valued in 2007 at $189m (£121m), the items will be sold by Guernsey Auctioneers in New York on 15 April.

The collection of 5,500 items, to be sold as a single lot, were recovered over seven expeditions to the North Atlantic wreck between 1987 and 2004.

On 10 April 1912 the Titanic set sail from England. After five days it hit an iceberg and sank, killing 1,517 people.

The seller, RMS Titanic, is the only company legally allowed to retrieve objects from the Titanic's wreck site.

RMS Titanic's president, Christopher Davino, said: "We expect to identify a buyer capable of serving as a proper steward of the collection and the wreck site, while continuing to build upon the work that RMST and its partners in the oceanographic and archaeological communities have accomplished."

Potential bidders for the collection, for which individual items have not been listed, will be selected through an application process that is open until 1 April.

However, a Guernsey Auctioneers spokeswoman told the Associated Press news agency that a preview of the lot would be held next week.

Final sale to any bidder must be eventually approved by a federal court judge in the US state of Virginia, according to a filing for the auction lot at the US Securities and Exchange Commission submitted on 23 December.

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