The violin that bandleader Wallace Hartley played as the Titanic sank has been confirmed as genuine, following British auctioneer Henry Aldridge & Son announcing its discovery in February.
The violin will not be auctioned straight away, but will be put on display for the first time, in Belfast at the end of March. The auction house is said to be in negotiations with several museums.
When finally sold, it may well surpass the current auction record for Titanic memorabilia, which stands at £220,000 ($336,000) achieved by plans of the doomed ship, which sold in 2011.
It has been seven years since the music teacher who currently owns the violin first approached the auction house, and it has been undergoing meticulous testing since. It was finally confirmed as authentic after the inscriptions on the plaque were discovered to be contemporary, and the corrosion was found to be compatible with immersion in seawater.
Wallace Hartley died as the Titanic sank, with his body only discovered 10 days afterwards. The violin is thought to have been found in a leather bag strapped to his body and was later returned to his fiancee Maria Robinson, who had gifted it to Hartley to mark their engagement in 1910.
Maria Robinson died in 1939, and her sister donated the violin to her local Salvation Army band, where it eventually found its way to the current owner.
The story of "the band that played on" is one of the most memorable from the sinking, with the band continuing to play to calm the passengers, yet sacrificing themselves in the process. All eight members were killed, though only three bodies were found.
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