The Door From ‘Titanic,’ Too Small to Fit Two People, Sells Big at Auction

The balsa wood prop was among hundreds of Hollywood props up for sale.

Titanic still (1997). Image via Heritage Auctions.

Regardless of whether or not Kate Winslet could have simply moved over a bit to accommodate Leonardo DiCaprio on the controversial floating door, the Titanic prop was certainly a hit at Heritage Auctions’s Treasures from Planet Hollywood auction. The balsa wood panel was the most expensive item to sell at the auction and realized $718,750, one of many Hollywood props that sold for six figures at the sale.

The iconic ornate Titanic door on which Winslet’s Rose DeWitt Bukater floats to survival, while DiCaprio’s Jack Dawson swims (and ultimately drowns) in the icy waters, is one of the most famous props from James Cameron’s 1997 film. In fact, according to the description on the prop’s auction listing, it isn’t even a door: “Often mistakenly referred to as a door, the ornate structure was in reality part of the door frame just above the first-class lounge entrance.”

Front of balsa wood prop from Titanic.

Floating Wood Panel from Titanic (1997). Courtesy Heritage Auctions.

It has been the source of heated debate for years, with many fans believing that there would have been enough room for both of the lovers had Winslet shifted over, given that the panel is eight feet long and 41 inches wide. The speculation was so intense that in 2022 Cameron conducted a “thorough forensic analysis” using two stunt people to see if both could have survived, and the answer was a resounding no. Anyway, regardless of how roomy the floating panel may have been, Jack “needed to die,” according to Cameron, who said, “It’s like Romeo and Juliet. It’s a movie about love and sacrifice and mortality. The love is measured by the sacrifice.”

Other props from Cameron’s record-breaking 1997 film—which reigned as the highest-grossing film of all time until he broke his own record with the 2009 release of Avatar—on offer included the ship’s helm wheel, two costumes worn by DiCaprio, and the chiffon dress Rose wears as the ill-fated ship sinks.

Back of the balsa wood Titanic prop showing a plaque.

Floating Wood Panel from Titanic (1997). Courtesy Heritage Auctions.

Huge franchises and box-office hits were well-represented at the auction, with many props and costumes from Star Wars, Star Trek, and Indiana Jones on offer. Other well-received lots included the eponymous board game played by Robin Williams in Joe Johnston’s 1995 film Jumanji, the motorcycle stolen by Bruce Willis’s Butch Coolidge in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 Pulp Fiction, and the iconic “NRVOUS” license plate from John Hughes’s 1986 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

The auction became one of the most successful prop and costume sales ever when it closed on Sunday, totaling $15.7 million. “There were countless bidding wars during the Treasures of Planet Hollywood auctionso many we lost track,” Joseph Maddalena, Heritage Auctions’s executive vice president, said. “The extraordinary success of this auction proves what I’ve known all along: The interest in and appetite for modern-movie props and costumesall of which were once displayed in Planet Hollywoods worldwide or part of their legendary archivesis profound, deep and insatiable.”

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