On 8 Oct 2018, Premier Exhibitions filed a Notice of Cancellation of Auction with the federal bankruptcy court as no other bidders met the minimum required. This means that the bid submitted by PacBridge Capital Partners (HK) et al for $19.5 million will stand. The company will now seek the court approval to sell the company and artifacts to them.
The Equity Committee has filed motions opposing the sale and still seeks other bidders.
According to Daily Mail, a recently uncovered letter from White Star Line apologizes for losing a wine delivery due to Titanic sinking. The later, dated 16 April 1912, apologizes to Berry Bros and Rudd for losing 69 cases of its wine.
Dear Sirs, referring to your shipment by this steamer, it is with great regret we have to inform you that the ‘Titanic’ foundered at 2.20am 15th instant, after colliding with an iceberg, and is a total loss. Details of shipment are shown at foot. Yours faithfully, for White Star Line.
A framed copy of the letter now hangs at Berry Bros and Rudd in London while the original is in a safe. A sales ledger from 1909-1912 confirms the wines were aboard Titanic and that a replacement shipment was sent out after the sinking.
The BBC is reporting that the bid by a consortium of museums (Royal Museums Greenwich,National Museums Northern Ireland,Titanic Belfast and Titanic Foundation Limited and others)has been outbid by a hedge fund consortium that bid $19.5 million for the collection. The head of the National Museums of Northern Ireland (NMNI) said that they had not given up hope of bringing the collection to Northern Ireland. While it is not clear whether they can raise additional money, they will stress that selling to them will keep the collection in public ownership. One Titanic expert, Professor John William Foster disagrees.
Foster states: “What happened to Titanic after she left Belfast is, in a sense, none of Belfast’s business,” he said. “As this exhibition circulates the globe, we get a lot of publicity from this, and it’s good publicity – not the publicity from the Troubles, so I’d be keen to see these artefacts keep going around the world.”
Source: Titanic: Museum bid to bring artefacts to Belfast fails (BBC,22 Sept 2018)
With summer now in the rear view mirror, autumn is coming up soon. Many stores have already put out Halloween candy and a few costumes. One grocery store nearby has started making pumpkin pies and put out whole pumpkins for sale. But who puts out pumpkins in September? No one that I know of. A few commercials with Halloween themes are starting to appear as well. And of course we are starting to see just the usual beginnings of “true” ghost stories starting to appear.
Autumn is usually the transition from Summer towards Winter. The days get shorter and the nights longer. Temperatures start to drop in most areas but not always. The San Francisco Bay Area usually has its long awaited summer. Most of the year the temperatures along the coast are in the 60’s to low 70’s Fahrenheit and often cooler due to the marine layer. But in September and October, heat arrives from the interior. The wind shifts to off shore and temperatures usually soar sometimes with record breaking days. Usually it lasts just a few days at a stretch but it can be quite miserable with all the concrete radiating heat in downtown Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. Most homes do not have air conditioning. We wait anxiously for the fog to return and rejoice when it brings the cooling we so desperately want. But it creates spectacularly bright days which is great for sightseeing. Beaches that normally are only visited by people walking their dogs or surfers become popular spots. Just remember that sand can be hot as well!
Of course the big news for Titanic buffs is the bankruptcy of Premier Exhibitions and the impending sale of the artifacts. The best news would be for the collection to stay in the U.S. or Britain conserved by a museum (or group of them). Hard to see how it will play out but the big money is on the Chinese to purchase it. Of course they will swear up and down they will keep it all together and in the court’s jurisdiction. I suspect though that little by little it will go over to that new theme park in China where a Titanic replica is being built. What Clive Palmer could not pull off they are doing quite handily. From all accounts, it will be quite a sight to behold.
Going over to You Tube you will find all kinds of videos about Titanic. Some are trailers or clips from the various Titanic movies. Others purport to present shocking new evidence of how it really sank. Some of the more reliable ones are from reputable sources like the History Channel, BBC and others. Then sometimes you come across one that makes you stop and enjoy. My Heart Will Go On has become an international standard from that movie and for Celine Dion her most famous song. Here is a lovely rendition of that song on a violin.
1.Pocket Watch From Titanic Victim Sold For $57,500 (Smithsonian,29 Aug 2018) On April 15, 1912, Sinai Kantor was among the more than 1,500 people who lost their lives when the Titanic plunged into the North Atlantic. Recovery workers later pulled his body from the ocean and found a number of items that had been on his person when he died. One of those items, a pocket watch marked with Hebrew letters, recently sold at auction for $57,500, reports the Associated Press. John Miottel, owner of the private Miottel Museum in California, purchased the watch at auction. He already owns a number of timepieces that belonged to Titanic victims, including John Jacob Astor IV, the financier who helped build the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, and Oscar Woody, the Titanic’s U.S. Postal Clerk.
2. Bankrupt Titanic Exhibitor Sets Biggest Sale of Ship Relics (Bloomberg, 30 Aug 2018)
This story, as predicted, is getting more heated now. To sum up: the current owner is bankrupt and wants to sell its most prized possession of all-the historic Titanic artifact collection. In the past getting anyone to put up the money was so difficult–due to constrictions imposed on the salvage award–that no one could afford purchasing it as one set. The article indicates three possible bidders:
1. Daoping Bao, has proposed a plan backed by a bevy of investment funds and Chinese businessmen who have bought $2 million of the company’s debt. Among Bao’s backers are Hong Kong-based PacBridge Capital Partners Ltd. and U.S.-based Apollo Global Management. Bao’s group is pledging to keep the collection intact and within reach of U.S. courts while planning to ramp up scientific and tourist expeditions to the wreck. Bao’s group raised their bid to $19.5 million
2. Titanic Branson
The owners of Titanic Branson and Titanic Pigeon Forge would like to purchase it and have made an offer in the past of $5-10 million that was turned down.
3. James Cameron & Museums: Cameron and a group of museums are offering $19.2 million.
As I suspected earlier, the Chinese are putting up a lot of money so they can move this to their theme park in China where a Titanic replica will be built. Make no mistake on this one, serious money is being put on the table. The downside is that once they are out of the U.S., there is no guarantee they will abide by the salvage award requirements. They claim they will keep it in U.S. but most are not sure they will do this. The bids from the Pigeon Forge and Cameron group is serious as well and both would likely keep the collection together.
And it is still possible that the bankruptcy court could conclude the easiest path is to auction off the pieces and pay off the debt rather than deal with the bids. The Bao group has put down a cash deposit to show they are serious. It is also possible that the government could step in to prevent its sale to Bao. That would leave the other two players. Certainly the Cameron group has museums behind him that know a lot about conserving artifacts. As for Pigeon Forge, they could end up getting it if the court is uncertain of the other two bids and wants to keep it right here in the U.S.
[Due to summer break, I did not post much. Catching up on some news that hopefully will interest everyone-editor]
This Man Was The Only Passenger Of Known African Ancestry To Die On The Titanic In 1912 (Face2FaceAfrica.com, 8 Aug 2018) When the blockbuster movie, “Titanic” was released in 1997, telling the story of the over 1,000 people who died in the world’s biggest shipping disaster in 1912, there was no portrayal of any African or black person aboard the ship. But later research by the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry would reveal that there were a distinguished Haitian man and his white wife on board the ship. Joseph Phillippe Lemercier Laroche, who would later become the only man of African descent to die in the Titanic ship disaster, was from a privileged class in Haiti and had received education from private tutors.Born on May 26, 1889, in Cap Haitien, Haiti, Laroche was the son of a white French army captain and a Haitian woman who was a descendant of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the first ruler of independent Haiti.
Titanic Pocket Watch With Hebrew Numerals Could Fetch £15,000 At Auction (Jewish News,15 Aug 2018) A silver pocket watch with Hebrew numerals recovered from a Russian-Jewish victim of the Titanic disaster is expected to fetch more than $20,000 (£15,728) when it goes under the hammer this month. Sinai Kantor, 34, from Vitebsk, Russia, was hoping to start a new life in America when his life was tragically cut short after the RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic, on April 12, 1912. The Swiss-made, open-face silver-on-brass watch, with its original movement and a diameter of three inches, includes numerals that are Hebrew letters. An embossed design on the back shows Moses holding the Ten Commandments. The watch’s movement is rusted as a result of immersion in salt water, the hands are nearly all deteriorated and the dial is stained. Kantor’s pocket watch will go under the hammer at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, on August 25.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a equity holders and lenders behind Premier Exhibitions have made a $17.5 million offer to acquire the company. The entities involved are PacBridge Capital Partners Ltd., as well as funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management LLC and Alta Fundamental Advisers LLC and other equity holders as well. The papers were filed with the court on 15 June 2018. According to the Wall Street Journal:
The prospective buyers will hold the sale process open to other qualified bidders, with Aug. 8 as the proposed bid deadline. If other interested bidders come forward, an auction would be held on Aug. 13.
This is a very interesting turn of events. Up till now all attempts to sell the artifacts have failed to materialize (including the more recent famous one by James Cameron). Whether this will bear fruit or wither on the vine remains to be seen. You can view the document here.
Source:Titanic Artifacts May Soon Join Apollo, Alta Portfolios (Wall Street Journal, 20 June 2018)
Titanic postcard with eerie message written by maid goes up for auction (New York Post, 19 June 2018) A postcard written by a maid on the Titanic to a friend which said “wish you were here” is expected to fetch more than $26,000 at auction.
Sarah Daniels wrote to pal Nell Green on April 11, 1912 – four days before the doomed liner hit an iceberg and sank which resulted in 1,503 lives lost. The pencil-written postcard, which bears a black-and-white picture of the Titanic, was addressed to Miss Green of Birmingham, England. The card has a post stamp of Queenstown, now Cobh in Cork, Ireland, which was the port from which mail written on board was posted.
-The postcard will be auctioned as part of a lot on July 18, 2018 by Warwick & Warwick Auctioneers.
Premier Exhibitions Update:
The Lawsuit is filed….After obtaining permission to pursue legal action, the Equity Committee of Premier Shareholders has filed suit against Mark Sellers, Sellers Capital, Daoping Bao and others alleging breach of fiduciary duty, a hasty merger with Daoping Bao without proper consideration of the merger, other opportunities, proper accounting review of Dinoking among other things. In short, you guys did a lousy job of running the company and an even more lousy job with merging with DinoKing. And now we want the shareholders, who lost equity in all of this, to get compensation. Ought to be interesting to watch. You can read the complaint here.
Summer is here and kids want to play? How about a Titanic Bouncy Slide?
The recent Taste of Charlotte festival usually has little controversy. This year for the event there was an inflatable slide in the shape of the sinking Titanic. It struck many as odd and in some cases offensive reported Fox46. Now this slide has been around for a while so it is nothing new. And while some did not like it, others had no problem having fun. Fun or tacky? Well I have said it before, if you turn tragedy into something like this you are bound to not appreciate that 1,500 died on a cold April night in 1912.
Source:Fun or Offensive? ‘Sinking Titanic’ slide at Taste of Charlotte turns heads (Fox46,12 June 2018)
Premier Exhibitions Update-On May 25, 2018 the Bankruptcy Court granted the Equity Committee legal standing to pursue claims against current and former officers and directors of Premier Exhibitions. In short it means they have the ability to demand they pay damages to help reduce the outstanding debts of the company. Since they have retained counsel, it means they expect it will result in litigation to determine whether they are liable and if so, how much they will have to pay.
View original document here.
View materials on the case here.
New Details on Secret Navy Mission Where Titanic Was Found-Some years ago it was revealed Titanic was discovered as part of a secret Navy mission that Ballard was on. He was sent on a mission to try to find out how two U.S. nuclear submarines had sunk. Using new submersible technology Ballard found those wrecks and the approximate location of Titanic. The National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C. reveals more of the details of that secret mission. “Titanic: The Untold Story” delves into the many details that have not been publicly revealed until now.
In 1985, Ballard’s mission was to dive to depths of 9,800 feet using a towed camera system called Argo to find and document the imploded remains of the Scorpion. The objective of the mission was to locate the submarine’s nuclear reactor and nuclear weapons and to gain evidence to help determine what led to her loss. After concluding his successful investigations of the Scorpion, Ballard used the final 12 days of his expedition to discover the RMS Titanic at a depth of 12,540 feet. The following year, while the public was enthralled and distracted by the discovery of the Titanic, Ballard returned on a second classified mission to the Thresher and Scorpion.
Visitors will view artifacts, materials and photographs from the U.S. Navy Archives, and see the submersible Alvin that dived to Titanic. They will also see a variety of Titanic related artifacts from the National Archives and movie memorabilia from 20th Century Fox.
If you have studied Titanic long enough, you are sure to come across various conspiracy theories. They vary from the supernatural (mummy curse) to the exotic (the Iluminati). And some that are even a stretch for conspiracy theorists to wrap around (like time travel or German submarine sinking Titanic). Then there is the switch theory.
What is the switch theory? That White Star switched the ships so that the actual ship that sank was Olympic not Titanic. The reason varies on who is making the claim. Some years ago Robin Gardiner made the claim in his book Titanic:The Ship That Never Sank? that it was done so that White Star could collect damages on the new ship.
The underlying reason for the switch is the HMS Hawke collided with Olympic in 1911. Olympic was determined to be at fault and Lloyd’s of London refused to pay the claim to White Star. So they decided to switch ships and sink Titanic to claim insurance. Of course the planned sinking went awry and you know the rest.
The book is still out there and has some believers on You Tube and elsewhere repeating it as fact to this day. Enter into the fray Myles Power who decided to take on this claim on his YouTube channel. And it certainly has gotten a lot of interest as newspapers like the Daily Star reporting on it. Power spends a lot of time going through the claim and debunking it. At last check it had over 37,000 views and growing.
I read the book when it first came out and shook my head after I closed the last page. It ought to have been an alternative history book. He is not the first nor likely the last that has come up with wildly speculative (and sometimes entertaining) conspiracy theories. In the age of the Internet though, Gardiner is finding that his claims can be debunked for the whole world to see. No word from Gardiner on what he thinks about all of this. He is probably hoping you will spend money at Amazon to buy his book. Check out your local library and see if you can check it out for free.
FYI: Here is a post I did back in 2014 that goes through many of the various theories about Titanic sinking including the conspiracy and supernatural ones.