Titanic Artifacts Set for Auction in 2012, 100 Years After Shipwreck

The largest collection of artifacts from the Titanic - the famous "unsinkable" ship that did just that in 1912 and went on to inspire the movie that was, until recently, the number one grossing movie of all time -  will be up for auction in 2012, the 100 th anniversary of the original shipwreck.

According to the Associated Press, there are more than 5,500 items in the collection owned by RMS Titanic Inc. The collection includes fine china, ship fittings, and portions of its hull - with an estimated value of $189 million.

The auction will be held on April 1  at Guernsey's, a New York City auction house. But the results won't be announced until April 15 - exactly 100 years to the day after the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage from England to New York City.

More than 1,500 of the 2,228 people on board died when the Titanic struck an iceberg, causing the ship's descent to the bottom of the ocean.

The location of the Titanic was unknown until 1985, when it was discovered by Dr. Robert Ballard and his team of marine explorers roughly 400 miles off the shore of Newfoundland, Canada.

According to a 2010 ruling, RMS is required to make the artifacts available "to present and future generations for public display and exhibition, historical review, scientific and scholarly research, and educational purposes."

The future owner of the collection must also abide by these conditions. In addition, the artifacts are to be sold as a complete collection.

There are many events commemorating the 100 th anniversary of the sinking of the ill-fated ship. Titanic Memorial Cruises, a British company, is recreating the original shipwreck. The Titanic Anniversary Cruise will depart from Southampton, England, on April 10 th,  just as the original did 100 years earlier. It will reach New York on April 18 th, a destination that so many passengers who died on the sunken ship never reached.