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

Rory McIlroy hits a drive during the Scottish Open Thursday, in a round that saw him set a new course record at Royal Aberdeen. McIlroy drove the green on the 436-yard 13th hole.

Wham! McIlroy Tees Off, Reaches Green On 436-Yard Hole

On the first day of the Scottish Open, Rory McIlroy sets a course record at Royal Aberdeen, with the help of an epic drive.


Zoo Jeans being "designed" by a tiger.

Jeans ‘Designed’ By Lions And Tigers To Benefit Japanese Zoo

Three pairs of jeans “distressed” by lions and tigers are up on the block at an online auction to benefit the Kamine Zoo in Hitachi City.


The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations were unveiled Thursday by Mindy Kaling and Carson Daly. Big winners included HBO, for Game of Thrones, and Netflix, for Orange Is the New Black.

HBO And ‘Game Of Thrones’ Haul In The Most Emmy Nominations

HBO got 99 nominations for the 2014 Emmy Awards, the most of any network. HBO’s Game of Thrones got 19 nominations, one ahead of FX’s miniseries Fargo.


Singapore Anti-Gambling Council Loses Big On World Cup Ad

The country’s National Council on Problem Gambling has been airing a cautionary spot featuring a boy whose father wagers his son’s savings on Germany.


Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City on Thursday. Israel escalated its aerial assaults on Gaza on Thursday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying there are no plans for a cease-fire.

Israel’s Netanyahu Says No Cease-Fire In Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a cease-fire with Hamas is “not even on the agenda,” as the U.N. Security Council prepared for a special session on the renewed violence.


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