It is well known how the band kept on playing in the middle of confusion and terror while Titanic was sinking, even though its members knew there would be no lifeboats for them. Well, a violin that symbolizes this courageous act has just been sold at auction for a world record of $1.45 million.
This is the violin Titanic’s bandmaster Wallace Hartley was playing as the ship sank into the deep ocean. This unique piece was sold with the leather luggage case in which it was found, containing the initials W.H.H., to a UK collector. Bidding for the violin started at just £50 but in a few minutes it had passed the previous world record of £220,000 for a piece of Titanic memorabilia sold at auction, a plan of the ship.
Hartley and his seven bandmates drowned in the icy North Atlantic on April 15, 1912 after the supposedly unsinkable ship hit an iceberg during her inaugural voyage from Southhampton in the UK to New York. The tragedy caused the deaths of more than 1.500 people in one of the deadliest maritime disasters in modern history.
The violin was found strapped to Wallace Hartley’s body and carries an inscription from his fiancée to mark their engagement. It was found in the attic of a house in northwest England in 2006 after being lost for decades. Its authenticity was confirmed only recently by experts.