Auctions

Titanic Instrument Auctions for More Than $1.7 Million

The violin, played by musician Wallace Hartley on the sunken ship in 1921, was sold in Britain.
The instrument was sold in Britain for £1.1 million, or roughly $1.78 million.
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A fan of the Titanic is never letting go.

A violin from the ill-fated ship -- which sunk in the North Atlantic after colliding with an iceberg on April 14, 1912 -- was auctioned for more than $1.7 million on Saturday.

The instrument was sold in Britain for £1.1 million, or roughly $1.78 million. According to the Los Angeles Times, the antique item had been estimated to sell between £200,000 and £300,000.

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Hosted by Henry Aldridge and Son -- the British auction house that specializes in Titanic-related memorabilia -- the auctioneers revealed the the violin was played by a second-class passenger named Wallace Hartley and was discovered in 2006 in the attic of a Yorkshire home in Northern England. Hartley is believed to have played with his ensemble as the ship sank.

In James Cameron's 1997 film Titantic, the violinist (played by Jonathan Evans-Jones) and his fellow musicians were seen performing the piece "Nearer, My God, to Thee."

The auction also featured Hartley's travel bag, where the violin was found, the musician's sheet music and the ship's original insurance document.

The auction house claimed that it conducted extensive tests on the original instrument to determine its authenticity, noting that it was an engagement gift from Hartley's fiancee. The instrument is believed to be of German origin, created around 1880.

In February, cruise line company Blue Star Line hosted a dinner gala as an early promotional event for the Titanic II, a high-tech replica of the Olympic-class ship. Blue Star, which is aiming for a 2016 maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, told Wall Street Journal that prospective Chinese customers have said they would be willing to pay as much as $1 million for a cabin.