Staircase among Titanic artefacts sought

A campaign is under way to return more than 5500 items from the Titanic to a museum in Belfast.
A campaign is under way to return more than 5500 items from the Titanic to a museum in Belfast.

A bronze cherub from the wreck of the Titanic is among the highlights of a 5500-piece collection of artefacts being fought over in a US bankruptcy court.

The RMS Titanic Inc Collection has become available after a US company that owns the items filed for bankruptcy.

A campaign has been launched to bring the items to Belfast for display at the Titanic museum.

Titanic Belfast, the Titanic Foundation, National Museums Northern Ireland and the National Maritime Museum united to launch the multimillion dollar Titanic Artefacts Collection campaign.

The collection includes personal jewellery from the 1503 people who died in the disaster, with rings, necklaces, pendants, watches and brooches among the trove along with buttons, tiepins, hairpins, belt buckles, cufflinks, medals, a coin purse, a jewellery box and eyeglasses.

It also includes fittings and furniture from the ill-fated liner, such as bench frames, table bases, a dining room seat back, bed frames, portholes and stained glass windows.

The list describes the bronze cherub, from the ship's grand staircase, as the most exceptional item because it is the "only substantial figural object in the collection".

As well as the cherub, the collection includes sections of the garland and balustrade from the grand staircase which became famous following the James Cameron movie about the sinking of the ship.

Some of the more poignant items include letters, shoes, combs, mirrors and a toy plane.

Australian Associated Press