Wallace Hartley letter brings $141,500 to Titanic auction

A letter written by the doomed bandleader of the Titanic, Wallace Hartley, has sold in Henry Aldridge & Son's April 20 auction in the UK, which was highlighted by a selection of Hartley's personal effects.

Titanic Band Leader letter
Hartley did not survive the disaster, with his body recovered days later by the cable ship Mackay-Bennett

The letter sold for ?�93,000 ($141,620), making a considerable 50% increase on its ?�60,000 pre-sale valuation. However, it last sold at RR Auction in April 2012, where it made $154,974, spurred by the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking.

The letter was sent by Hartley to his mother, and is thought to be the only surviving letter written by the heroic bandleader while on-board the ship. Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge described it as "perhaps the most desirable and important on-board Titanic letter extant," in an interview with the Wiltshire Gazzette and Herald.

The letter reads: "Just a line to say we have got away all right. It's been a bit of a rush but I am just getting a little settled. This is a fine ship and there ought to be plenty of money on her.

"I've missed coming home very much and it would have been nice to have seen you all if only for an hour or two, but I couldn't manage it. We have a fine band and the boys seem very nice."

The auction took place ahead of the auction house's planned sale of Hartley's violin later this year, on which he played the hymn Nearer My God to Thee to the frenzied passengers as the ship went down.

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