Hi Jeremy, I have seen a couple on Ebay a few years ago that came with a receiver of the wreck letters, and was told by a few people that other artifacts where brought up as souvenirs. I know that you have to be a good diver to dive at these depts so how many people have dived on the wreck?
I don't think Cousteau would sell them, but since he's no longer among the living, he doesn't exactly have any control over it either. And might I suggest befor we get too carried away with the idea that any of these things have been or are being sold that somebody provide specific documented examples of this actually happening.
OK, OK, OK!!!! Per Mark Chirnside, and Michail Michailikis (and I hope he does not mind me reposting his reply off the Britannic forum instead of writing it 3rd hand here, and me taking the credit), here is what he had to say.
"Per my notes, the base of one of the telegraphs went to a museum at Monaco. The sextant, bearing Britannic's name, was 'carefully cleaned and placed in the Greek museum in Athens.' I know that the brass wheel ring was raised, as was one of the ship's bells, but I haven't got any notes suggesting what happened to them. Michail may have further information, and if I recall he gave me some of that above -- including the info. on the sextant. I am grateful to him for that."
Me too! Maybe we all could beg Michail to go and get some pictures for us!
"the base of one of the telegraphs went to a museum at Monaco."
I had heard the same thing, but when I was in Monaco back in the mid 1990s, I went to every museum I could find, and everyone said they had never heard anything about it. Is it there? I don't know. But I sure couldn't find it....
I had read that the sextant and the wheel's brass ring were given as a gift to "an Athens museum".I have tried to locate Britannic artifacts here in Athens about three years ago, when I started the web site. I went to the Maritime Museum at Pireaus and to the War Museum in downtown Athens. I didn't find anything
I have also asked the Cousteau Society but their response was extremely vague.The wrote that they remembered the items but nothing more about their current whereabouts.
Regarding the base of the telegraph, I've recently read somewhere (I think it was in a "Titanic Commutator") that it was confiscated by the Greek authorities and not sent to Monaco.
The place to search at Monaco is the Oceanographic Museum. Cousteau was its director for several years.
However, I think I may have found a good trail to follow.I've managed to find the name of the Greek archeologist who was monitoring the dives from the Calypso. He was present when the items were retrieved and I think he surely knows where they were placed afterwards (if they are still in Greece).
Hi Jeremy, I saw some third class plates up on ebay a few years ago. He said in the description that they where raised in the late 80's on an illegal dive. They came with a receiver of the wreck letter and an evaluation from a well know auction house. Does anybody else remember this. Thanks Rene
Hi Colleen, sorry it took so long but they just got back to me today. I contacted the Musée océanographique de Monaco, and she told me that the Museum has no artifact from Britannic in there collections. Hope this helps. Rene
Bill Tantum was on the 1975 Britannic expedition with Jacques Cousteau. He recovered a screw that held an engine room telegraph to the deck, two barnacles and some Britannic coal recovered from the ocean bottom near the wreck. THS has a wooden plaque with the screw and barnacles mounted to it, along with a photo of an Ed Bearman painting of the Britannic and a photo of Bill Tantum with Jacques Cousteau and the mayor of the island of Kea. Check hospitalshipbritannic.com/images/THS_plaque.gif for a photo of the plaque. Robert H. Gibbons