The violin played on the deck of the Titanic as the doomed vessel sank a century ago sold for more than 1.6 million U.S. dollars. — A violin that was played as the Titanic sank in April 1912 has been sold at an auction in the UK. The famous stringed instrument sold for a staggering 1.6 million U.S. dollars, setting a record for memorabilia from the doomed ship.
It’s one of the most famous instruments in the world, a wooden symbol of selflessness, courage and resolve. On Saturday, the violin played on the deck of the Titanic as the doomed vessel sank a century ago sold for more than 1.6 million U.S. dollars.
Never mind that the violin is unplayable. The battered instrument set a world record for a single item of Titanic memorabilia, according to Henry Aldridge and Son, the auction house in south west England that sold the violin and specializes in Titanic artifacts.
“I don’t think anybody expected it to fetch over a million with buyer’s premium. 900 thousand pound in the ring and then you’ve got the premium on top – it was a fantastic price,” said Titanic historian and collector Peter Boyd-Smith.
The sea-corroded instrument is thought to have belonged to bandmaster Wallace Hartley, who was among the more than 1,500 victims in the disaster.
According to survivors, Hartley’s band played to calm passengers even as the ship sank beneath them. The scene was depicted in James Cameron’s blockbuster “Titanic”, in which Hartley and his band play “Nearer, My God, to Thee” as the ship take on water.
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.
Made in Germany, the violin was a gift from Hartley’s fiancée Maria Robinson, and was engraved with the words: “For Wallace on the occasion of our engagement from Maria.”
Henry Aldridge and Son said the violin had been subject to numerous tests to check its authenticity since it was discovered in 2006. They said earlier this year that the violin was Hartley’s “beyond reasonable doubt”.