Rare Titanic Relic: Bandmaster’s Violin Case, Linked to Iconic Ship’s Orchestra, Anticipated to Fetch £120,000 at Auction

A leather case that safeguarded the violin played by Wallace Hartley, the bandmaster on the ill-fated Titanic, is set to go under the hammer at an auction.

The case, measuring 26 inches by 14 inches by 12 inches and adorned with Hartley’s initials, is anticipated to fetch between £100,000 and £120,000.

Protective Case with Titanic Legacy

Wallace Hartley and his orchestra famously continued playing music on the Titanic as the ship sank in 1912, providing reassurance to passengers amidst the unfolding disaster.

Hartley secured his violin in the leather valise bag, which he strapped to himself using the long handles, possibly for buoyancy.

Historical Journey of the Artifact

Following the tragedy, Hartley’s drowned body was recovered with the bag still attached, which was later returned to his fiancée, Maria Robinson.

After her passing in 1939, the violin and case were donated to the Bridlington Salvation Army band. The violin eventually sold at auction for a record-breaking £1.1 million after forensic tests confirmed its authenticity.

Significance of the Valise Case

The valise case, crafted from English coach hide, played a crucial role in preserving the violin. Forensic tests revealed corrosion deposits consistent with immersion in seawater, highlighting its survival amidst the disaster.

The case is considered one of the largest pieces of luggage to have survived the Titanic sinking, serving as a tangible link to the historic event.

Legacy of Wallace Hartley

Wallace Hartley received the violin and case as a gift from Maria Robinson in 1910.

As the bandleader on the Titanic’s maiden voyage in 1912, Hartley and his orchestra provided solace through music during the ship’s sinking. Hartley, along with 1,522 others, tragically perished in the disaster.

Auction Details and Related Items

The valise case is scheduled to be auctioned on April 27, accompanied by a rare order of service for Wallace Hartley’s funeral, held on May 18, 1912, at Colne cemetery.

These items offer a poignant connection to the Titanic’s history and the enduring legacy of its passengers.

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