Titanic Violin Brings $1.5 Million
The violin that is believed to have been played as the Titanic went down was sold for $1.46 million at auction. This was a record price for memorabilia from the world’s most famous ill-fated ocean liner.
Band leader Wallace Hartley played the instrument, trying to calm passengers as the ship sank in the North Atlantic after colliding with an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.
Hartley and fellow musicians played the hymn ‘Nearer, My God, To Thee’ as passengers climbed into lifeboats. He and his seven band mates all died after choosing to play on.
When Hartley’s body was recovered more than 10 days after the disaster, the violin was found in a leather case strapped to him.
It was given back to Hartley’s fiancee Maria Robinson in England, and, after she died in 1939, it was donated to her local Salvation Army band and later passed on, eventually to the current owner, whose identity has not been disclosed.
The auction house said it had attracted interest from collectors all over the world. More than 300,000 people viewed it during a three-month exhibition in the United States.