Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

US auction house ‘sorry’, but Titanic sale will go ahead

The Titanic sank off Newfoundland on her maiden voyage to the United States after striking an iceberg
The Titanic sank off Newfoundland on her maiden voyage to the United States after striking an iceberg
A bracelet from the Titanic which was recovered from the ocean floor during an expedition to the site of the tragedy (AP)
Some of the survivors of the Titanic disaster. 1912.
The Titanic signature project currently under construction
Buggy bar: Titanic Belfast
Shipyard worker William Parr (background) pictured in the Titanic gym along with instructor T W McCawley
Giant starboard anchor of the Titanic is raised for the last time. 1.55pm 11th April 1912 in a picture taken by Father Browne.
1st class dining room on RMS Titanic taken by Father Browne.
Marconi Room on RMS Titanic showing Harold Bride in a picture taken by Father Browne.
The Dutch Suite aboard the RMS Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Titanic had a fully equiped gymnasium 44 feet long and 18 feet wide. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
A shipyard worker's ticket to the launch of the RMS Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Lord Pirrie, chairman of H&W (left) and Bruce Ismay, chairman of White Star, make a final tour of inspection of Titanic before her launch. 31/5/1911. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic first class suite bedroom 'b58'. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic at fitting-out wharf with three out of four funnels fitted. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. Hydraulic launch rams below port bow. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic, double bottom and initial plating of tank top of Olympic, with keel of Titanic laid on No.3 slip. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic, port near profile during outfitting at Thompson deepwarter wharf. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic, upper part of stern frame in position. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Titanic's two main engines near completion in engine works erecting shop. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. Port bow 3/4 profile afloat immediately after launch. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic first class cafe parisienne. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. The Great gantry, Queen's Island, Belfast. This photograph shows the enormous scale of the ship, together with the complex structure of the enfolding steel gantry, from which she will soon be free. The photograph also reflects old and new maritime technologies, with the traditional wooden schooner in the foreground contrasting eith the modernity ot Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. In this photograph of the cabinet shop, taken in 1899, a small army of cabinet-makers are at work. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Workmen prepare the Titanic slipway. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic leaving Belfast. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The crew of the RMS Titanic, pictured just before her maiden voyage. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The hull of the S.S. Titanic. under construction in dry dock. The tragic sinking of the Titanic nearly a century ago can be blamed on low grade rivets that the ship's builders used on some parts of the ill-fated liner, two experts on metals conclude in a new book. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Harland & Wolff drawing room. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The "unsinkable" four-funnelled ship the SS Titanic. Part of the White Star Line, Titanic sank off Newfoundland on her maiden voyage to the USA after striking an iceberg (14-15/4/1912). Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Titanic being built in Belfast. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The transporting of the Titanic's anchor. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic designer Thomas Andrews. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Olympic and Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Shipyard men fitting the starboard tailshaft of the Titanic prior to her launch. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Titanic launches into the water. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The shipyard men leaving Queen's Island at the end of a working day in May 1911. Some of them have boarded electric trams for parts of the city beyond walking distance. In the background the Titanic can be seen under her huge gantry. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Three loftsmen, pictured in 1910 chalking the lines of a ship on portable wooden flooring at Harland and Wolff. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Brilliant new footage of a first class cabin on the Titanic. A live television link-up shows spectacular footage of the captain's cabin
Brilliant new footage of a first class cabin on the Titanic. A live television link-up shows spectacular footage of the captain's cabin
Pipes and the captain's bathtub are shown in this July 2003 photo, of what remains of the captain's cabin on the Titanic more than two miles underwater in the north Atlantic. Recent research dives to the legendary shipwreck are showing the vessel is deteriorating faster than earlier thought.

The auction house that sparked a transatlantic row after putting thousands of Titanic artefacts up for sale has apologised to relatives of victims of the disaster.

Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey’s Auctioneers and Brokers in New York, also vowed to work with Northern Ireland organisations who want to bring the items back to the province.

The Titanic auction sparked criticism it was “appalling” and “extremely insensitive”. But speaking from New York, Mr Ettinger said: “On behalf of Guernsey’s we apologise to anyone we offended, it wasn’t our intention.”

He said he wanted to see the collection returned to its place of origin and that one of the first calls he made after it was chosen to hold the auction was to the Northern Ireland Bureau — a Government organisation which develops links between the US and Northern Ireland.

“The reason I called them was to tell them that in our opinion there could be no more fitting home, no more meaningful and poignant a resting place for these objects, than in Northern Ireland, and that we would do everything in our power to assist in the process that could result in that happening,” he said.

“For those who want to see this collection end up in Northern Ireland — get together, get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do to make it happen.”

Mr Ettinger argued the items which make up the collection were not taken from the ship itself — which is regarded as a grave — but from an area known as the debris field. He added analysis of the hull section in the auction could help scientists understand why the ship sank.

And he has the support of Titanic relative Patrick Toms, founder of the Shannon Ulster Titanic Society, who says he has “no objection” to the auction.

“I totally agree with what they say,” Mr Toms said. “It’s a piece of an old ship which, first of all, doesn’t belong to anybody, and secondly, they have had it on display for years, so what’s the problem?”

Background

This week the Belfast Telegraph reported that an auction of thousands of Titanic artefacts is scheduled to take place just days before the centenary of the ill-fated liner’s sinking. Included in the sale is a 17-ton section of the ship known as ‘The Big Piece. The steel section, measuring 14ft by 23ft, broke away from the starboard side of the hull as the ship sank.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest Food and Drink News

Latest Motoring News