Violin from the Titanic to auction

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2015-06-26 10:34:40

Violin from the Titanic to auction

An incredible relic from one of the most famous stories of the sinking of the Titanic will be auctioned in April. A violin owned by one of the musicians who, as legend has it, ‘played on’ while the ship went down, has come to light.

The violin is believed to have belonged to Titanic band master Wallace Hartley. Scientific tests are being conducted to determine its authenticity, and experts have voiced their support for it as a genuine article.

Hartley’s instrument is expected to fetch hundreds of thousands of pounds. It will be offered at an auction hosted by Titanic experts Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, who hold every record set for Titanic memorabilia.

The story is that Hartley’s fiancé Maria Robinson had gifted the violin to him prior to the fateful voyage. It is inscribed with the letters W. H. H., and the words ‘For Wallace on the occasion of our engagement from Maria’.

All eight of the musicians perished in the disaster, but the bodies of three, including Hartley, were retrieved from the icy water. Newspapers reported that Hartley was found fully dressed, his violin strapped to his chest. However when his effects were itemised in Nova Scotia, there was no mention of his violin, and its fate remained a mystery.

It is now believed that Maria Robinson retrieved it, evidenced by a 1912 diary entry, a draft of a letter thanking the Nova Scotian authorities for sending her the violin.

Every test so far confirms the violin’s authenticity. There is one test left, the results due in March. If the auction house prove beyond a doubt that this is Hartley’s violin, it is likely to fetch high up into six figures. It represents a rediscovered survivor, a player in a key part of the story, and the love between Hartley and his fiancé that caused him to cling to the violin so tightly as he went down with the ship.

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