Created on: March 18, 2013
A British auction house has announced that it has found the violin played by the bandmaster of the Titanic during the disaster of 1912, according to ABC News. The ship’s survivors say they remember that Wallace Hartley was leading the band and played on the deck, even though the Titanic was sinking after it hit an iceberg.
For nearly a century, it was believed that Hartley’s violin was lost at sea. After an instrument was discovered in 2006, auctioneers
Henry Aldridge & Son had spent a large amount of money in order to perform rigorous testing. After consulting with a number of experts, such as professors from Oxford University and forensic scientists, the water-stained violin was proven to actually be Hartley’s because corrosion deposits matched the immersion in sea water.
It is still unknown as to how the violin survived the disaster. The auction house referred to several newspaper clippings from May 1912 that reported Hartley was found with the instrument in a letter case strapped to his body – the bow was too long for the case and that’s why it wasn’t found in it when his body was recovered. One of the key attributes of the violin is its engraved silver plate.
“When we first saw the violin we had to keep a lid on our excitement because it was almost as if it was too good to be true,” said Andrew Aldridge of the auction house in an interview with Agence-France Presse (AFP). “The silver fish plate on the violin along with the other items it was with, such as the leather case with Hartley’s initials on, his jewellery and covering letter to the owner’s late mother, suggested it was either authentic or an extremely elaborate hoax up there with the Hitler Diaries.”
The violin’s owner continues to remain anonymous.
The auction house confirmed that it would like to sell the violin – there have already been a tremendous amount of offers to acquire the violin. First it will go on display at Belfast City Hall, a mile away from where the Titanic was first constructed. Negotiations are presently taking place for additional exhibitions around the world, reports the UK Mirror.
Hartley died at the age of 34 and was born in Colne, Lancashier and later lived in Huddersfield and Dewsbury. Prior to joining the Titanic, he was a musician on board the RMS Mauretania and the RMS Lusitania. His tragic tale of playing music as he met his doom has become one of the important and romantic stories of the Titanic disaster.
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