Published Wednesday, 04 April 2012
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Gloves worn by ladies who lost their lives when the Titanic sank 100 years ago and the silver spoons laid out in the first class dining rooms are among the items recovered from the wreckage, which was reached by Robert Ballard in 1985.
Even a piece of the ship's hull weighing 17 tonnes is expected to be sold, in what auctioneer Arlan Ettinger has described as "the single most compelling collection in the entire planet".
It is the only sale of objects recovered from the wreckage, which is two and a half miles below the ocean's surface.
Whoever buys the artefacts, which are being sold as a single lot, will have to abide by certain regulations to ensure the collection will be available for public display.
But 71% people from the Titanic's birthplace say the items should all be donated to a museum.
In the YouGov poll conducted for UTV, 13% of Northern Ireland people surveyed said the artefacts should be given to relatives of the more than 1,500 people who died when the ship sank.
Only 1% agree the lot, which currently belong to RMS Titanic who hold the salvage rights, should be put up for auction.
And for local museums already displaying articles from taken from the wreckage on the seabed, the future of their exhibitions is not yet known.
"We have over 500 original artefacts. Thirty of those objects are on loan from RMS Titanic and we would be sorry to see them go," said Curator of the Titanica Exhibition, William Blair.
Bids will continue until later this month under auction house Guernsey's Auctioneers and Brokers.