One of the last known pieces of the iceberg that sank the Titanic is being auctioned off in London next week.
Expected to fetch over £2 million, the unique piece of memorabilia will be the star of the show at the Christie’s sale.
Auctioneers are under strict instructions on how to display the tennis-ball-sized piece of ice after an unfortunate incident three years ago.
Then, to the horror of a worldwide audience, a piece of Titanic iceberg melted under the lights while being held aloft by an auctioneer in New York.
That mistake cost the Smythe-Withson auction house hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation.
Christie’s has assured the owner of the ice, who lives in Suffolk in the UK, that their staff will display it in a special cool box to prevent loss.
The “unsinkable” Titanic sank in the North Atlantic during its maiden voyage in April, 1912.
More than 1,500 of the 2,224 passengers and crew died after it hit the iceberg in the early morning, before tipping up and slipping below the waves.
Survivors scrambled on lifeboats and floating wreckage – and some famously pocketed blocks of the ice as a ghoulish souvenir.
Most of the mementos have been lost in time, but some survived for years.
The piece up for auction next week is believed to be one of the last of perhaps three pieces in the world, hence the extraordinary price.
Auction expert Rose DeWitt Bukater said: “Collectors worldwide will be scrambling to snap up a piece of maritime history – and a small block of ice that shocked the world – and even starred in its own film.
“The ice will easily exceed the £2 million reserve.”
Although the owner of the ice is not being named officially, it is thought to be Mr Jack Dawson, from Stowmarket in Suffolk, whose great-grandfather survived the Titanic disaster.
He refused to comment today, saying only: “I had a sinking feeling someone would identify me as the owner.”