Survivors of the Titanic have stated that they clearly remember the night that the Titanic sank, and the band master which was led by Wallace Hartley playing on deck on that tragic night as the passengers flooded the ship's deck in search of lifeboats after crashing in to an iceberg on the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912 during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, US.
The Titanic violin found was for years believed to have been lost during the 1912 disaster, but auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son say an instrument unearthed in 2006 and has undergone rigorous testing and proven to be Hartley's.
"It's been a long haul," said auctioneer Andrew Aldridge, explaining the find had initially seemed "too good to be true."
The British auction house claims they have spent the past seven years, and thousands of pounds determining the water-stained violin's origins, consulting numerous experts including government forensic scientists and Oxford University.
The auction house describes the Titanic violin found as being made of rose wood, with two long cracks on its body, but is "incredibly well-preserved" despite its age and exposure to the sea. It estimated the violin is worth six figures.
Wallace Hartley died that April night along with another 1,516 people who were lost into the freezing ocean waters when the Titanic struck an iceberg 350 miles (565 kilometers) south of Newfoundland.
Some speculated reports at the time suggested Wallace Hartley's corpse was found fully dressed with his instrument strapped to his body, though there was also speculation the violin floated off and was lost at sea.
The auction house claims that they have cleared up the mystery saying that, Henry Aldridge and Son have researched the Titanic violin's story with a Hartley biographer as the instrument underwent forensic testing, uncovering documents that showed Hartley was found with a large leather valise strapped to him and the violin inside.
At first, the Titanic violin found was returned to Hartley's grieving fiancée, the auction house said, and later ended up in the hands of the Salvation Army before being given to a violin teacher and ultimately Henry Aldridge & Son.
Testing by the U.K. Forensic Science Service showed corrosion deposits were considered "compatible with immersion in sea water," while a silver expert studied a plate on the violin's neck to determine if it fit the time profile.
The Titanic violin found will go on public display at the end of the month at Belfast City Hall, less than a mile from where Titanic was built. Join the Twitter conversation about the Titanic violin found here.