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

FAA Extends Ban On Flights To Tel Aviv For Another 24 Hours

The Federal Aviation Administration banned flights to the region on Tuesday after a rocket landed about a mile from Ben Gurion International Airport.


Book News: Booker Prize, Now Open To U.S. Authors, Longlists 5 Americans

Also: a new short story by Zadie Smith; mermaid mythology.


The harbor of the Italian island of Giglio, after the wreck of the Costa Concordia was towed away. Italy's once-luxurious cruise liner embarked on its last voyage on Wednesday.

WATCH: Wreckage Of Costa Concordia Begins Its Final Voyage

More than two years after the luxury liner wrecked off the Italian island of Giglio, it is finally being moved to a salvage yard in the port of Genoa.


Palestinians walk through the rubble of houses in Gaza City minutes after they were hit in an Israeli strike on Wednesday.

White House Adviser: Cease-Fire Should Include Demilitarization Of Gaza

In an interview with NPR, Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken endorsed Israel’s demand that before the conflict ends, Gaza must be demilitarized. It’s a demand Hamas is unlikely to agree to.


Flowers lay on the tarmac as a ground Hercules transport aircraft of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, carrying bodies from downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, prepared to take off Wednesday in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Dutch Day Of Mourning, As Remains Of Some MH17 Victims Come Home

In its first national day of mourning in more than half a century, the Netherlands came to a standstill as two planes carrying the remains of some victims landed in Eindhoven.


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