The instrument -- which bandmaster Wallace Hartley used to lead the seven-piece band in hymns as the ship sank April 15, 1912 -- was recovered alongside its owner's body after about 10 days in the ocean, the New York Post reported Friday.
"When we first saw the violin, we had to keep a lid on our excitement, because it was almost as if it was too good to be true," said Andrew Aldridge of the Henry Aldridge and Son auction house, which worked for seven years to confirm the artifact's authenticity. "It is the most important artifact relating to the Titanic to ever emerge, and probably the most valuable."
The auction house said the current owner, who wished to remain anonymous, discovered the violin in his mother's attic in 2006. The violin was given to his mother, a musician, by a music teacher who obtained it from the Salvation Army, where it had been donated by the sister of Maria Robinson, Hartley's fiancee.
The auction house said the violin is currently being displayed in Devizes, England, and will later be moved to Belfast City Hall in Northern Ireland. The owner has not yet decided whether to sell the violin, Aldridge said.
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