Nation & World News

Violin Said To Have Been On The Titanic Sells For $1.6M

By Mark Memmott on October 19th, 2013

An anonymous buyer on Saturday paid about $1.6 million for a violin believed to have been played by one of the musicians who famously stayed aboard as the Titanic sank in the icy waters of the North Atlantic in April 1912.

The Associated Press writes that “the sea-corroded instrument, now unplayable, is thought to have belonged to bandmaster Wallace Hartley, who was among the disaster’s more than 1,500 victims.”

It was sold at auction by the English firm Henry Aldridge & Son. According to the BBC’s Duncan Kennedy, “the buyer was believed to be British.” The violin sold for about three times more than the price Aldridge said it was expecting.

As Weekend Edition Sunday said back in March when the auction house announced it had authenticated the instrument:

“As the Titanic sank, the story goes that Wallace Hartley and his orchestra stayed on deck and continued playing ‘Nearer My God to Thee.’ The band and their instruments, according to lore, went down with the 1500 other people who died that day.”

It’s thought that before going into the water, Hartley placed the violin in a leather case. His body and the case were recovered by one of the ships that later arrived on the scene. The violin was given to Hartley’s fiancé, Maria Robinson. It passed through some other hands before being rediscovered in 2006.

Among the clues that led to its authentication: An engraving that says, “For Wallace on the occasion of our engagement from Maria.”

The Washington Post adds that this is the most ever paid for such a relic linked to the Titanic: “Previously, the priciest Titanic artifact sold, Aldridge said, was a 32-foot long schematic plan of the ship used in Britain’s official inquiry into the tragedy, which he said fetched $356,000.”

Note: Some other news organizations are saying the price paid for for the violin was $1.45 million. In a video of the auctioneer you can clearly hear him saying the price was 900,000 British pounds, which today converts to about $1.45 million. But NPR’s Philip Reeves tells us that when the auctioneer’s fee is added, the price being paid by the buyer comes in closer to $1.6 million.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

People call for the Nigerian government to rescue girls taken from a secondary school in Chibok region, during a protest earlier this month. Boko Haram, the group that took the girls, says they have been "married off."

Boko Haram Says Kidnapped Girls Are Now ‘Married’

The Nigerian extremist group says more than 200 girls it kidnapped from a school in April have been married to fighters. The group also denies stories that it has reached a cease fire deal.


Dante Martin waits for jury selection on Monday, Oct. 27, as he stood trial in Orange County, Fla.

Former Band Member Found Guilty In FAMU Hazing Case

A Florida jury found Dante Martin guilty of manslaughter for his role in the fatal hazing of drum major Robert Champion.


The commercial space ship, pictured here in an earlier test flight, crashed in the California Desert.

1 Dead After Commercial Spaceship Crashes During Test Flight

The Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two was undergoing a test flight when it crashed in the California desert. The spaceship is designed to take tourists to space.


Rita Jeptoo of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the Women's Elite division of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014.

With Reports Of Doping, World Marathon Majors Postpones Awards Ceremony

Rita Jeptoo, the accomplished marathoner who holds the course record at Boston, has reportedly tested positive for a banned substance. The Majors said it’s awaiting a decision by the governing body.


Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, take delivery of a pizza at their home in Fort Kent, Maine, on Thursday. A judge has ruled that the state cannot compel Hickox to remain in isolation if she's not showing signs of Ebola infection.

Maine Judge Rejects State’s Bid To Restrict Nurse’s Movements

The request by state officials would have compelled Kaci Hickox, who shows no symptoms of Ebola, to isolate herself until Nov. 10.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments