The bandleader Wallace Hartley died when the Titanic sank and most historians believed that his violin sank into the ocean with him. In 2006, Hartley’s violin was first discovered in the attic of a home in east Yorkshire, England.
Henry Aldridge & Son is an auction house that specializes in artifacts from the Titanic. The owner of the special violin reached out to the auction house.
Andrew Aldridge, the auctioneer stated “It’s been a long haul” in regards to the long seven years it’s taken to positively identify the violin. It was an incredible inscription on the violin that assisted the auction house with authenticating the violin.
The inscription read, “For Wallace, on the occasion of our engagement. From Maria.”
Aldridge & Son worked with Hartley’s biographer and had the violin forensically tested. The two of them were trying to figure out how the instrument managed to get from Hartley’s body to the attic of the Yorkshire home.
The auction house found documents that revealed Wallace Hartley’s body was recovered from the Titanic’s wreckage. His violin was in a leather bag strapped to him.
The auction house was able to find out that after salvagers found Hartley’s body, his violin was returned to the woman he was engaged to marry. From there it was placed into the care of the Salvation Army before finally being given to a violin teacher.
Hartley’s violin is estimated to be worth almost half a million dollars. It will be displayed at Belfast City Hall later this month according to Henry Aldridge & Son.
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