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Famous Titanic violin to go on display
3:40pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in News
The famous violin reputedly played by Titanic’s bandmaster as the ill-fated liner sank is to go on public display.
Wallace Hartley has become part of the ship’s legend after leading his fellow musicians in playing as the ship went down, most famously the hymn Nearer My God To Thee.
Hartley and his seven fellow band members all died in the tragedy in 1912 after the ship set sail from Southampton. His violin, which had been a gift from his fiancee, Maria Robinson, was apparently found in a case strapped to his body when it was recovered from the icy Atlantic.
Its re-emergence in 2006, when it was reportedly discovered in an attic in Yorkshire, prompted debate over its authenticity.
Titanic specialist auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son insist seven subsequent years of research and tests have proved it to be the genuine article.
Now the violin – accompanied by a leather luggage case initialed W H H – is to go on display in Titanic Belfast, the multimillion-pound visitor attraction dedicated to the ship.
It will reside in the centre’s replica second-class accommodation suite from September 18 until October 13 before it goes up for public auction by Aldridge and Son in Wiltshire later that month.
Andrew Aldridge, a valuer with the auctioneer, said: “The Wallace Hartley Titanic violin is one of the most iconic collectables from the 20th century.
“Bandleader Hartley was an incredibly brave man whose actions helped to calm passengers during Titanic’s last hours.
“The violin has attracted interest from collectors all over the world, especially after its recent successful three month exhibition in the United States, where in excess of 100,000 enthusiasts viewed it.
“This is the last time the violin will be seen in public prior to returning to Devizes for auction.”
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