London: The violin believed to have belonged to Wallace Hartley - the heroic band master who played, as the iconic ship Titanic sank - is expected to fetch a record price as it goes under the hammer here. The violin, if proven authentic, will have incredibly survived the tragedy in which more than 1500 people lost their lives in the Atlantic ocean on April 15, 1912.
Extensive scientific tests are underway to prove the violin's authenticity, however, experts believe it to be genuine, the 'Daily Mail' reported. The violin is expected to fetch hundreds of thousands of pounds on April 20 when it is up or the auction by Titanic experts Henry Aldridge and Son based in Devizes, Wiltshire.
It has passed all other tests over the last seven years and the results of the last investigation are due early next month.
In 2011, a plan of the Titanic used in the inquiry into the doomed ship sold for a record 220,000 pounds, but it is believed the instrument auction will exceed this price. Maria Robinson, Hartley's bereaved fiance, retrieved the violin after his death, according to the anonymous seller of the violin. The seller said the instrument had been a gift from her.
The fate of Hartley's violin has always been a mystery to Titanic scholars. All the eight members of the band that gallantly played as passengers lined up for evacuation to the lifeboats perished in the disaster but the bodies of the band leader and two other musicians were pulled from the water by a search crew from the CS Mackay-Bennett and taken to Nova Scotia, Canada.
Hartley was reportedly found fully dressed with his violin strapped to his chest, the report said. However, when the effects of Body 224 were itemised by the Office of the Provincial Secretary in Nova Scotia there was no mention of it.
RMS Titanic, the British passenger liner sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, US.