The violin played by the bandmasters of the Titanic as it met its demise sold for a world record fee on Saturday, at a highly publicised auction, collecting £900,000 ($1.45 million).
The instrument belonging to Wallace Hartley was found strapped to his body after he drowned with his seven band-mates whilst playing the hymn “Nearer, My God, to Thee” to try to calm passengers while they climbed into lifeboats as the Titanic sank beneath the icy waves in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912.
It was sold to a British collector after a feverish 10-minute battle between telephone bidders at Titanic specialist auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son in Devises, south west England. The instrument carries an inscription from the 33-year-old’s fiancée Maria Robinson to mark their engagement and was sold with its leather luggage case, initialled W.H.H, in which it was found.
For decades the violin was believed lost but it was found in the attic of a house in Northwest England in 2006, prompting a debate about its authenticity, which experts only recently resolved.
But from the depth of the Atlantic ocean the instrument that had gained historical significance, has now become a luxury memorabilia.