Premier Exhibitions, the owners of approximately 5,500 artifacts that were recovered from the wreck of the RMS Titanic, have filed for bankruptcy in the United States. As a result, they have decided to sell these items to a hedge fund consortium in the U.S.
According to the BBC, the hedge fund consortium will have to pay a whopping $19.5 million dollars for the precious items.
After a number of objections and some deliberation, the sale of the collection was approved by the United States bankruptcy court in Jacksonville, Florida. The ruling determined that the minimum value to be raised should amount to no less than $21.5 million in order to trigger an auction of the items.
The hedge fund consortium, which consists of Apollo Global Management, Alta Fundamental Advisors, and PacBridge Capital Partners (HK) Ltd was not the only one of its kind with interest in purchasing the collection.
A U.K. consortium including National Museums Northern Ireland (NMNI), Titanic Belfast, and Titanic Foundation Limited also had its eye on the items and even launched a funding campaign earlier in the year in an attempt to make up the required money for the collection. They later withdrew from the process after they were told the value of the U.S. consortium’s bid and the minimum value set by the courts.
But members of the U.K. consortium remained critical of the process. In particular, National Maritime Museum Greenwich (NMMG) and National Museums Northern Ireland (NMNI) argued that “no auction subsequently took place and a sale hearing was scheduled,” approval of the sale overruled objections that were brought forward by shareholders of Premier Exhibitions, and that the value of the items is in fact far higher than the court ruled needed to be offered for the collection.
The incredible collection includes a piece of RMS Titanic’s hull and china sets that were recovered from the wreckage. Some of the pieces are actually currently on display at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum as part of the exhibition about the Titanic.
The iconic ship is perhaps the most well-known maritime disaster in history. In April 1912, the ship set sail on its maiden voyage from Britain to the U.S. across the icy Atlantic Ocean. Tragically, as it traveled on its first ever journey, the ship struck an iceberg and more than 1,500 lives of both passengers and crew were lost to the ocean as it sank.