RMS Titanic ‘rusticles’ withdrawn from May 21, 2011 Americana antiques auction

UPDATE: May 18, 2011

DALLAS – Three items have been withdrawn from the Americana & Political Memorabilia auction to be conducted by Heritage Auctions on May 21, 2011.

The items, commonly called “rusticles,” are biological formations that developed over the decades on wreckage of the RMS Titanic, but were not originally part of the ship.

Heritage is returning the lots to the consignor, Charles Pellegrino.

Mr. Pellegrino has indicated he will send the rusticles to RMS Titanic, Inc., the Atlanta, Georgia-based company that has exclusive control over artifacts and objects recovered from the Titanic and its wreck site.

The original auction announcement follows.

DALLAS, TX – An actual 7 inch by 4 inch section from the hull of the doomed ship R.M.S. Titanic, modern history’s most famous shipwreck – consigned by famous author, Hollywood consultant and deep sea archeologist Charles Pellegrino – is expected to bring more than $4,000 as part of Heritage Auctions’ May 21, 2011 Americana & Political Memorabilia event. A minimum of 10 percent from proceeds will be donated to the Firefighter’s Burn Center.
“This is the first time these relics have ever been offered,” said Tom Slater, Heritage’s Director of Americana, “Pellegrino, one of the world’s foremost experts on the doomed ship, has chosen now to share this treasure with the world, and we expect that collectors will be clamoring for a chance to make this theirs.”

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The actual wreck of the Titanic is, of course, strictly protected, making portions of the ship itself virtually unavailable in the private market. This section, however, was part of the “crackage” of the great boat, which sheared away from the vessel as it broke in half, and was recovered from the ocean floor some distance from the wreck. A semicircular depression in one corner of the piece is evidence of the force with which the ship cracked, sufficient to pop a rivet completely away from the hull. It has become essentially fossilized after the bio-absorption.
Also included in Pellegrino’s consignment is a fossil impression of rope from H. M.S. Titanic measuring 1 1/2 inch x 2 inches, in which original rope strands became imbedded, found inside rusticle formations growing around the davit bit (the rib or buttress-like appendage from which lifeboats were suspended) that was used to lower the  No. 8 lifeboat, expected to bring more than $4,000, along with a 2 1/2 inches sample from the railing of the “Titanic’s No. 8 Lifeboat” davit, also estimated at more than $4,000. A minimum of 10 percent of the proceeds of these lots will also be donated to the Firefighter’s Burn Center.
“The No. 8 Lifeboat railing is particularly significant,” said Slater. “The Titanic’s band played near this location and this is also where Mrs. Isador Strauss gave her maid, Ellen Bird, her fur coat, saying she would not be needing it, then stepping away from the boat and joining her husband behind the rail saying, ‘Where you go, I go.’”

More details on the sale can be found at Heritage.
About Charles Pellegrino:

Charles Pellegrino is one of the most well-known and influential scientists and authors in the world, often crossing over between the fields of astrobiology, primordial biology, and deep-ocean bio-archaeology.  He has published reports ranging from the 1988 AAAS Symposium on International Cooperation on Large Scale Space Ventures to the New York Times best seller, Her Name, Titanic, a non-fiction source for James Cameron’s Titanic. He was an on-screen scientist/historian in James Cameron’s 3D documentary Ghosts of the Abyss, and one of a small army of scientific consultants used during the filming of Avatar. 
Pellegrino was part of the first expedition to explore the wreck of the Titanic, where he came up with the “down-blast” hypothesis about the bow and stern sections’ first moments of contact with the bed of the Atlantic, and the collapse-columns of water that trailed behind them, an investigation that would apply to the same physical effects on the World trade Center towers at Ground Zero in New York.
He is the author of 20 books, co-author (with Jesse Stoff) of the Europa Theory (sub-surface oceans inside Europa, Enceladus, and other icy satellites of Jupiter and Saturn), and (with James Powell and Pierre Noyes) co-designer of the Valkyrie interstellar rocket engine and has served as a scientific consultant to James Cameron on 3-D Imax films ranging from expeditions to the Titanic and the mid-Atlantic hydrothermal vents as well as to Discovery Channel features.
Pellegrino is also the scientist who invented the “dinosaur cloning recipe,” published in “Time Gate,” “Darwin’s Universe,” and OMNI Magazine in the early 1980s and featured as the scientific basis behind Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park.  “’Cloning’ is a popular misnomer,” said Pellegrino. “I have always called the process ‘bio-morphing,’ as 80% of the therapod genome is still walking around in ostriches and emus.”

Pellegrino is also one of only six people to have actually gone inside the wreck of the Titanic.
Also included in this consignment is Pellegrino’s personal copy of A Night to Remember, the 1978 illustrated edition, which was carried by him on three separate expeditions to reach the wreck of the Titanic, and which actually went down to the wreck twice in submersibles, estimated at $4,000. Pellegrino’s personal copy of Ghosts of the Titanic rounds out the quartet. It comes with his correction notations for the next edition and, at the front of the book in the author’s hand, in the same red ink used to make his corrections, is the inscription “Dog-eared correction copy – drawing corrections presently being made aboard Mir-2 on deck of Titanic, September 10, 2001.” It carries an estimate of $2,000+.

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