The violin played by the bandmaster of the Titanic as the liner sank beneath the waves goes up for auction on Saturday.
The instrument was found strapped to Wallace Hartley’s body after he drowned along with some 1,500 others on board the supposedly unsinkable ship in 1912.
The violin, which will be auctioned in Devizes, Wiltshire, was believed lost for decades but was found in an attic in Yorkshire in 2006.
Auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son expect it to fetch up to £300,000.
Hartley and his seven bandmates famously decided to carry on performing as the ship sank to comfort the passengers, playing the haunting hymn “Nearer, My God, To Thee” in the final moments according to some survivors.
The violin carries an inscription from Hartley’s fiancee Maria Robinson to mark their engagement in 1910.
The silver plaque reads: “For Wallace, on the occasion of our engagement. From Maria.”
Robinson never married and after her death in 1939, her sister donated the violin to her local Salvation Army band, where it passed into the hands of a music teacher and then to the unnamed owner in whose house it was discovered.
After seven years of testing including MRI scans, researchers said in March this year that the instrument was genuine.
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said the violin was “one of the most iconic collectables from the 20th century”.
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