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But bidders will have to face down James Cameron.

Jess McHugh
July 21, 2017

The story of the ill-fated Titanic has long captivated people from around the world. A vessel meant to be a symbol of innovation became a representation of engineering's greatest failures, sinking in the Atlantic and killing 1,517 people.

Now, more than 100 years after the ship sank, salvaged artifacts are up for sale.

The current owner, Premier Exhibitions, filed for bankruptcy protections last year and is selling the 5,500 artifacts as a complete lot, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Notable objects from the collection include a sapphire ring, a bronze cherub from the staircase, as well as the rights to any future expeditions. All together, a fine arts appraiser in 2014 estimated the collection is worth $218 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.

But nterested buyers will have to face off against some of the most well-known names in Titanic history, including James Cameron, who directed the 1997 Oscar-winning movie about the ship's fate and expedition.

“Jim is dedicated and has a certain passion for the site,” David Gallo, an oceanographer who led a 2010 expedition of the site, told the Los Angeles Times. “He would really like to see the collection stay together.”

Bob Ballard, who led the first deep-sea expedition that found the Titanic and recovered many of the objects, has also expressed interest in acquiring the collection.

Ballard voiced concerns in court that if a private buyer acquired the collection, it could be improperly preserved or kept hidden from the public eye. He feared the collection would be “lost to the world at large,” according to WSJ.

Interested buyers must make their bids by the end of Friday, according to the bankruptcy judge in charge of the case.

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