A violin used aboard the fated Titanic has been found and restored to its former glory. It has a storied history and is expected to fetch a nearly 6-figure sum when it goes on auction.
Wallace Hartley was the original owner who performed aboard the ill-fated Titanic as passengers scrambled to save themselves. The instrument was believed lost in the wreckage but found in 2006. Auctioneers Henry Aldridge and his son Andrew has gone through tests to prove that it truly belonged to Hartley.
"It's been a long haul," Andrew told the Associated Press. The news of the find seemed "too good to be true."
The violin's story did not end with the sinking of the Titanic. After it was recovered, those who found it gave it to his fiancée. The fiancée, known only as Ms. Robinson, sent a note to the Provincial Secretary of Nova Scotia.
"I would be most grateful if you could convey my heartfelt thanks to all who have made possible the return of my late fiance's violin," the note said, according to The Mirror. Ms. Robinson passed away in 1939.
It later ended up at the Salvation Army before being given to a violin teacher and then the auction house. Aldridge and his son plan to put it on public display at the end of this month; it will later be put up for auction.
Treasures from the Titanic have generally brought about a great deal of interest among collectors and historians. Divers have scoured the ship's wreckage ever since it went down in 1912, hoping to find more and more to bring to the surface.
Last year was the 100-year anniversary of the ship's sinking, and interest was at its peak. Over 1,500 people died in the disaster that captivated the international community and has since seen the release of several historical and semi-historical movies, books, and TV shows.
Coincidentally, the violin will be on display at Belfast City Hall, less than one mile from where Titanic was built.