The violin of Wallace Hartley, bandleader on the RMS Titanic, will be put up for auction on April 20. The news comes courtesy The Daily Mail, which reports that the violin is currently undergoing tests to prove its authenticity.
Wallace Henry Hartley is famous for leading the Titanic’s band to play as passengers were loaded into lifeboats. Hartley and all of the band members died when the ship sank on April 15, 1912. Popular accounts recall that Hartley and his band continued to play until the ship went under. The event was depicted in the 1997 movie Titanic, with the band playing “Nearer My God to Thee” as the horrific events of the ship’s sinking take place.
The Mail reports that the violin, if authentic, could sell for “hundreds of thousands of pounds.” There is also mention that the instrument could sell for a “record price.” The seller of the violin has chosen to remain anonymous, but has claimed that the violin was owned by Hartley’s fiance, who obtained it after Hartley’s body was retrieved.
The item will be auctioned off by Henry Aldridge and Son, a well-known Titanic auctioneer. The company bills itself as the “premier auctioneers in the sale of Titanic and White Star Line Material.”