A group of hedge funds has made a $19.5 million bid to buy some 5,000 relics from the doomed ocean liner the Titanic. Their offer threatens the efforts of a consortium of UK museums which had hoped to acquire the collection with a $20 million offer but were unable to raise the initial funds before the hedge funds, led by Apollo Global Management, threw their hat in the ring.

The museums now have until October 5 to make a competing offer of at least $21.5 million, as reported in the Guardian. If they are able to do so, that will trigger a bankruptcy auction, set to take place October 11. (After Premiere Exhibitions, the US company that owns the artifacts, filed for bankruptcy in 2016, a judge ruled that the collection must be sold together, as opposed to each object being auctioned separately.) The collection has been appraised at $200 million but is unlikely to approach such a lofty sales price sold as a single lot.

James Cameron, director of the blockbuster 1997 film Titanic, and Robert Ballard, who discovered the location of the famed wreck, have voiced their support of the museums’ bid. Ballard called it “the only viable option to retain the integrity of the Titanic collection. The collection deserves to be returned home to where its journey began.” Read more