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Titanic Violin Nabs Record $1.4 Million

  • VOA News

Violin that belonged to Titanic bandmaster Wallace Hartley on display at the Titanic Centre, Belfast, Sept. 18, 2013.
The violin played by the band leader Wallace Hartley of the Titanic as the luxury liner sank has sold for $1.4 million.

The instrument was sold on Saturday soon after bidding started at an auction house in southern England.

The auction house says the winning bid came from a buyer in the United Kingdom.

The Henry Aldridge and Son auction house, which specializes in relics from the Titanic, says the sale was a world record price for Titanic-related memorabilia.

Principal auctioneer Alan Aldridge says the violin generated a great deal of interest because of its sentimental value.

"It is iconic. It represents bravery in human nature, the way this young man and his colleagues and all the people that behaved bravely on the ship, stayed and fulfilled their duty," he said.

The auction house also says the instrument, whose authenticity took seven years to confirm, attracted collectors from all over the world.

It is believed to have been found strapped to the floating body of Hartley, who played the hymn "Nearer, My God to Thee" as the ill-fated luxury liner sank, killing him and all fellow band members.

Over the years, the auction house says, the instrument has passed through the hands of several owners, including Hartley's fiancée, who died in 1939.

The Titanic was on its maiden voyage from southern England to New York when it hit an iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912, killing more than 1,500 passengers.