Titanic artifact found in Naples scrapyard
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NAPLES, Fla. - A Naples man who is into 'shipwrecks' recently came across an artifact in a scrap yard. It was, ironically, an artifact from the most famous shipwreck of all time, the 'Titanic'.
Imagine going to a scrap yard and something dirty and dusty catches your eye and you look a little further and see the word 'Titanic' on it. You ask how much it costs and the answer is, "you can have it for what the metals worth". Then you take it home, clean it up, do some research and 'Wow!'.
"It's pretty much overwhelming," said Doug Turner. It's like 'Wow' I've got a piece of history that's 101 years old. What do I do now?" The plaque, sculpted in 1912 right after the Titanic sunk in honor of the band members on the Titanic, was sold for $111 to a Naples scrap yard in January. Then Turner was walking by one day and it caught his eye.
"It had a lot of like drywall dust, paint on it," Turner recalled. He's an investigator with the Collier County Sheriff's Office, but he says he didn't need to be a detective to figure this one out. "Oh, absolutely. When you see 'Titanic' and '1912', knowing that the Titanic went down in 1912, that's a red flag, yea."
Turner paid $138 for it. "It's appeared in five different books, Titanic; Triumph to Tragedy," Turner explained. "The photograph from 1912 was the only photograph they had of it. It showed up as 'whereabouts unknown' and I wasn't sure if it was one of one or one of a hundred or a thousand. I really didn't know."
Later he learned the answer is 'one of one'. "It's one of a kind. It's priceless pretty much. It's nerve wracking," he said. He recalled cleaning it up with dishwashing detergent then realizing what he had. That's when he got nervous. "Yea, absolutely, overwhelmed, scared, asking 'why me? why me?'."
So what's it worth? Turner doesn't know but he said this, "There's so many fanatics out there about the Titanic and it's such a hot item, you know since the movie and everything, they have no idea what it could be worth."
Even though Sgt. Turner is in law enforcement, he still doing everything he can to protect it. "I actually hid it under my bed for awhile, I mean I did," he laughed. "And then getting insurance and getting it secured and in a humidity safe environment....." When asked if he's rich now he said, "No, I don't think so. I have really no interest in selling it."
He's not. He's lending it to the Titanic International Society in Orlando where it will be on display next week.