Wallace Hartley’s Violin From The Titanic Sells For $1.7 Million

Posted Oct 20, 2013

On April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg during a maiden voyage and sank at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean.  The Titanic was headed from Southampton, UK to New York City.  While the boat was sinking, the Titanic bandleader Wallace Hartley was playing this violin.  The violin was recovered from the ocean and has sold for over $1.7 million yesterday at an auction house.  This is the highest amount ever for memorabilia related to the Titanic.

“This figure is going to be hard to beat,” stated veteran collector Craig Sopin, who helped authenticate the fact the violin came from the Titanic. “I can’t think of anything else that is more iconic to come off that ship.”

Survivors said that Wallace Hartley’s band played music to calm passengers as the ship was sinking.  The scene was re-enacted in James Cameron’s hit movie “Titanic.”  In the movie, Hartley’s band was playing “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”

Hartley’s body was pulled from the water days after the ship sank and the violin case was still strapped to his back.  The damaged violin was founded in 2006 in the attic of a home in Britain.  The violin was tested with salt water deposits, according to a statement from Henry Aldridge and Son.  The violin also has an engraved silver plate that connected it to Hartley.  The name of the seller and buyer was not released.  The Titanic was discovered in 1985 off the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  One of the original menus sold for around $100,000.  Hartley was considered a hero because there could have been “mass pandemonium” if the band did not help people stay calm.

[Image Credit: Henry Aldridge]