A Titanic windfall


titanichullA British pawnbroker was skeptical when a customer walked into his shop with what he claimed were treasures from the Titanic. “Who carries around 100-year-old relics in a plastic bag?” asks Mark Manning on the latest episode of Pawn Stars UK. “It just seemed a bit crazy.”

But when Manning saw the supporting documents for a fragment of the doomed ship’s metal hull, among other things, he decided to take a “massive gamble” and hand over about $23,500 for the lot, according to the Daily Mail.

So how much is it worth? “We’ve already had an offer of ($1.9 million) for the piece of hull,” Manning says.

The customer, who had been fascinated by the Titanic since he was a boy, had struck up friendship with George Tulloch,  one of the men who retrieved artifacts from the Titanic wreck in the 1990s. The collector, who wishes to remain anonymous, not only needed the money, he was afraid that the items would be stolen from his Merseyside house.

“He also wanted other people to see it,” Manning says. “So I’ve been taking it around schools –kids think it is great to be able to touch a genuine piece of the Titanic. I’m also going to look into loaning it to a museum for a few months. … When I sell (the piece of the hull) the collector will get a fair share. We have a gentleman’s agreement because I had no idea it was worth that much when he walked through the door.”