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Titanic violin sold for $1.45 million

england £900000 british buyer memorabilia auction house forensic scientists

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#1 Hum

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 23:03

The violin that was apparently played to calm passengers on the Titanic as it sank was sold for £900,000 in just 10 minutes at auction in Wiltshire.

It was played by band leader Wallace Hartley, who died along with 1,517 others as the ship went down. It had a guide price of £300,000.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy said the buyer was believed to be British.

Auctioneer Alan Aldridge said the violin was the "rarest and most iconic" piece of Titanic memorabilia.

Mr Aldridge set the bidding at £50 for the violin, which was lot 230 of 251, so "two of his friends could bid" - but after just a couple of minutes it had passed £100,000.

It eventually sold for £900,000 after fierce bidding between two telephone bidders.

Hartley has become part of the ship's legend after leading his fellow musicians in playing as the vessel sank. They are famously said to have played the hymn Nearer My God To Thee.

It had taken seven years for the Devizes auction house, Henry Aldridge & Son, to authenticate the instrument.

Several experts were used, including forensic scientists who said the wood still contained salt deposits from the sea water.

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#2 Boo Berry

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 23:05

I actually feel bad about people raiding the wreckage for collectables like this. It just seems like desecrating the victim's final resting place. Sadly, it's way too late now. :(



#3 OP Hum

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 23:13

^ The wreck was not raided:

 

But it is claimed the violin survived in a leather case strapped to Mr Harley's body who was found wearing his cork and linen lifejacket.



#4 FlintyV

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 23:40

I actually feel bad about people raiding the wreckage for collectables like this. It just seems like desecrating the victim's final resting place. Sadly, it's way too late now. :(

 

The Titanic (among others) is protected by UNESCO 2001 Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

 

Though I don't think the US & Canada have signed so they can offer tours like BlueFish. ROV's damage the ship and stuff gets taken. 

 

"Despite an international plea that the wreck be left untouched and respected as a mass grave and archaeological site, a first expedition began removing artefacts from the site in 1987. Subsequently, a private company retrieved an additional 1,800 artefacts from the wreck. 

Most of these artefacts are likely to be sold and dispersed. 


#5 compl3x

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 03:46

A rather morbid souvenir. Not to mention expensive.



#6 OP Hum

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 06:41

For that much money, I'd expect to be able to play that violin. :p



#7 Growled

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 00:58

It seems like an unlucky piece to me. I sure wouldn't want it.