The tragically famous Titanic violin has been found and fully authenticated as belonging to the legendary ship’s band leader Wallace Hartley, according to an announcement today by a British auction house.
There are many tales of how Hartley and his fellow band mates stood their ground on deck, serenading passengers as the ship met its fateful end. The band leader’s violin, a hauntingly iconic symbol of the tragic event, was thought to be lost forever.
As previously reported in The Inquisitr, the violin was discovered seven years ago and has been undergoing an exhaustive authentication process.
Henry Aldridge and Son, an auction house that specializes in Titanic memorabilia, has now confirmed that the instrument is indeed the same one Hartley played throughout the Titanic voyage.
Through extensive research, the auction house has determined that the Titanic violin, carefully secured within its leather case, was found with Hartley when his body was recovered in the wake of the tragedy.
According to Henry Aldridge and Son, the instrument was returned to Hartley’s fiance, Maria Robinson, following the band leader’s death. The violin was reportedly a gift from Robinson to Hartley as a token of their engagement.
Researchers traced the Titanic violin’s path, concluding that it was donated to a Salvation Army location after Robinson’s passing in 1939.
The Titanic violin was reportedly found in 2006 by the son of an amateur musician and teacher, who discovered the instrument in the attic of his mother’s home after her death. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted Henry Aldridge and Son in an effort to authenticate the piece.
The auction house eagerly complied with the request. In addition to extensive research of historical documents, Henry Aldridge and Son partnered with several experts, including the UK Forensic Science Service, to perform a series of authentication testing.
Scientists concluded that corrosion deposits on the Titanic violin are “compatible with immersion in sea water.” The violin’s authenticity was further bolstered by expert examination of silver plating on the instrument’s neck which dated the material to the Titanic’s time period.
Now that Wallace Hartley’s famous Titanic violin has been found and authenticated, Henry Aldridge and Son intends to display the instrument at Belfast City Hall. Valued at roughly six figures, the violin will eventually be auctioned to a new owner.