Famous violin survived historic RMS Titanic sinking and belonged to storied Titanic bandmaster, Wallace Hartley
Pigeon Forge, Tenn. – For the first and only time in the United States, the iconic violin, depicted in Titanic-themed movies and actually used by Wallace Hartley on board Titanic, will be on display at the Titanic Museum Attractions in Pigeon Forge, TN, and Branson, MO, announces Titanic Museum Attractions’ owner, John Joslyn.
This storied artifact wase unveiled to the American public at Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge earlier this year. It will remain there until Saturday, July 27 before it travels to the Titanic Museum Attraction’s sister-location in Branson. It will be on display in Branson, Thursday, Aug. 1 through Thursday, Aug. 15 prior to it traveling back to England where it will be auctioned off by Henry Aldridge and Son on Saturday, Oct. 19.
Widely regarded as the world’s leading experts in the sale of RMS Titanic memorabilia, Henry Aldridge and Son have unparalleled experience in auctioning the rarest memorabilia ever to be offered and describe the Hartley Violin as “the Holy Grail.”
“My visit to Pigeon Forge with the Hartley Violin is the culmination of nearly seven years of research,” said Alan Aldridge, Principal of Henry Aldridge and Son. “I hope my visit to the Titanic Museum Attractions will enable their guests to understand the importance of the Wallace Hartley story.”
Throughout the years, the historic violin has had its share of controversy and some have disputed its authenticity. However, with the assistance of some leading experts in their respective fields, an extensive provenance package now exists and according to officials with the Titanic Museum Attractions and leading Titanic experts, the violin belonged to Wallace Hartley.
Craig Sopin, leading Titanic expert and owner of the one of the world’s largest private collections of Titanic artifacts, believes in the violin’s authenticity.
“To say I was skeptical at first would be an understatement,” said Sopin. “But, after I conducted an exhaustively detailed investigation into the history and forensics of the instrument, I became convinced beyond doubt that this violin belonged to Wallace Hartley and that it was with him on RMS Titanic.”
Joslyn explains that in addition to Sopin and Aldridge, other Titanic experts, including a forensic scientist, noted violin-dealer, collectors and historians also believe in the violin’s authenticity and their research is available for discussion.
For example, as per analysis and testing performed by Michael Jones, a 29-year veteran of forensic science and former employee of the United Kingdom’s Home Office Forensic Science Service, the violin is compatible with immersion in seawater. The FSS was a government-owned company in the U.K. which provided forensic science services to the police forces and government agencies of England and Wales, as well as other countries.
“In my opinion, the findings in relation to the corrosion associated with the metal fixtures of the travel case in which the violin was recovered, and also the silver fish plate attached to the violin would be considered compatible with immersion in seawater,” said Jones. “The results compared were compatible with material that had been recovered from other Titanic victims including Titanic postal worker, Oscar Woody and third-class passenger, Carl Asplund.”
Another such expert convinced of the violin’s authenticity is Stanley Lehrer, the world’s foremost and largest Titanic collector. “By analyzing all the facts about the case and the violin, I am convinced that the violin is indeed the one Wallace Hartley played aboard Titanic and valued it enough to safeguard its survival,” explains Lehrer.
Due to this historical exhibit, for the first time the museum will host a special VIP preview at 8:30 a.m. everyday starting Thursday, May 23, limited to 25 people. Regular admission tickets will begin daily at 9 a.m. Reservations are required for all tickets and may be purchased online at www.titanicattraction.com or by phone at (800) 381-7670.
Joslyn says the Titanic Museum Attractions plan to donate a portion of all ticket sales to Strings Crossings, an intensive summer camp for violin, viola, cello and bass students in grades eight through 12 conducted at Belmont University’s comprehensive School of Music.