Violin played on the Titanic goes to auction.
Hide Caption

Violin played on Titanic by bandmaster Wallace Hartley as boat sank goes on sale

a a a a
Share this story

 

LONDON - It's a poignant scene familiar to anyone who has watched "Titanic" -- as the doomed ship slides into the icy waters, musicians perform one last time for the passengers, playing with stoic resolve until the final hour.

None of the musicians survived in the 1912 disaster in the North Atlantic, but a violin believed to be the one played by bandmaster Wallace Hartley will now go on auction.

"It is just a remarkable piece of history," said Andrew Aldridge, of auctioneer Henry Aldridge and Son.  "I have been an auctioneer for 20 years, but I have never seen an item that brings out this degree of emotion in people before."

The violin, with Hartley's name on it, is believed to have been found at sea with the musician's body more than a week after the Titanic sank.

The auction house, which specializes in Titanic memorabilia, expects the violin to fetch more than 200,000 pounds (US$323,300) when it goes on sale in southern England's Wiltshire on Saturday.

Hartley and his seven fellow band members were among the 1,517 people aboard the Titanic who died after it hit an iceberg. According to some accounts, the band played the hymn "Nearer, My God, To Thee" to keep spirits up as the passengers boarded lifeboats in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

The musicians have been hailed as heroes for sacrificing their chances of escape.

"Mr. Hartley and the band were very brave people ... standing by their posts to the bitter end," Aldridge said.

The auction house said the violin has been subject to numerous tests to check its authenticity since it was discovered in 2006. It said earlier this year that the violin was Hartley's "beyond reasonable doubt."

The violin, of German make, was a gift from Hartley's fiancee Maria Robinson, and was engraved with the words "For Wallace on the occasion of our engagement from Maria." It can no longer be played, Aldridge said.

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More World News
Material on Australian shore examined in search
Material on Australian shore examined in search

Unidentified material that has washed ashore in southwestern Australia is being examined for any link to the lost Malaysian plane,…

SKorea ferry toll hits 150 as search continues
SKorea ferry toll hits 150 as search continues

The grim work of recovering bodies from the submerged South Korea ferry proceeded rapidly Wednesday, with the official death toll reaching…

Drone strike in Yemen kills al-Qaida militants
Drone strike in Yemen kills al-Qaida militants

Yemeni security officials and tribal chiefs say that a suspected U.S. drone strike has killed several al-Qaida militants in the country's…

Lawmakers call for tighter sanctions on Russia
Lawmakers call for tighter sanctions on Russia

Two members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called Sunday for beefing up western sanctions against Russia to include its…

Malaysia, Flight 370 families talk financial aid
Malaysia, Flight 370 families talk financial aid

A deputy foreign affairs minister met with the passengers' relatives in Kuala Lumpur to talk about where to go next. Financial…

Pope, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
Pope, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter

Marking Christianity's most hopeful day, Pope Francis made an Easter Sunday plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria,…

On Easter, Pope calls faithful to expand faith
On Easter, Pope calls faithful to expand faith

Pope Francis baptized 10 people Saturday and urged them to bring their faith "to the ends of the Earth" as he presided over an…

Sunken Korean ferry death toll could exceed 300
Sunken Korean ferry death toll could exceed 300

South Korean President Park Geun-hye says the captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry committed `unforgivable, murderous…

Holy fire ceremony draws thousands to Jerusalem
Holy fire ceremony draws thousands to Jerusalem

The dark hall inside Christianity's holiest shrine was illuminated with the flames from thousands of candles on Saturday as worshippers…

Everest avalanche a reminder of risk for Sherpas
Everest avalanche a reminder of risk for Sherpas

The rescuers moved quickly, just minutes after the first block of ice tore loose from Mount Everest and started an avalanche that roared…