for National Geographic News
Watch the TV premiere of Return to Titanic Monday, June 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT only on the National Geographic Channel.
The ill-fated luxury liner R.M.S. Titanic never made it to New York. But on Thursday the largest ever selection of the ship's artifacts and memorabilia will go on the auction block the city's South Street Seaport Museum, just steps from the New York Titanic memorial.
The event, hosted by New York auction house Guernsey's, will sell items from other famous ocean, such as the Normandie, the Olympic, the Andrea Doria, and the Lusitania. But there can be no doubt of the main attraction.
"It's far and away the biggest assemblage of Titanic material ever to come to sale," said Arlan Ettinger, President of Guernsey's.
The auction's lots range from the quirky to the awe inspiring to the slightly macabre.
cork life jacket and liner said to have been removed from a doomed passenger (estimated auction sale price: U.S. $30,000 to $40,000);
a Titanic plaque from lifeboat number 2 (estimated auction sale price: $75,000 to $100,000); and
a recovered deck chair.
Gary Robinson, one of the event's top consigners, said he has several lots of special interest.
"I think in terms of an almost visceral impact on people when they see it, I'd mention a 19-inch [48-centimeter] section of carved English oak that made up part of the grand staircase," Robinson said.
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