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11 Fascinating facts about the Rose War

In the early morning hours of April 15, 1912 as R.M.S. Titanic continued his descent into the cool, unyielding waters of the North Atlantic, with band leader Wallace Hartley urging his seven musicians to continue playing.

In the apocryphal version, Hartley puts his violin under his chin and cites it in a narrative of "Closer, my God, you" as the ship sank. While providing for a poignant finale, Hartley is more likely to play "Songe d & # 39; Automne," a slow waltz that scored the premature deaths of more than 1500 passengers, including Hartley and all his bandmates.

When the bodies began to be In the coming days, the authorities and inventory of the found personal belongings recovered. In this official register of Hartley, aa.k.a. Body 224 was not spoken of his violin, bow or case. He was in the water for 1

0 days. It was believed that the wooden instrument made in Germany was largely lost to the sea.

About 100 years later, a UK-based auctioneer named Andrew Aldridge received a phone call from a man telling a strange story. In the attic of his deceased mother, he said Aldridge, was a small collection of objects that he believed would be of interest to Titanic historians and collectors.

When Aldridge visited his caller in 2006, he was shown several items that were said to belong to Hartley, including sheet music and a leather case with the musician's initials. But Aldridge's attention was drawn to a violin: it was cracked and weathered, with only two strings left. A silver plate on the tailpiece reads:

For Wallace on the occasion of our commitment to Maria.

Aldridge felt a surge of excitement. He had made possible the sale of several Titanic relics, but nothing had been compared to the holy grail of the Hartley violin. If this really belonged to the musician, this would be one of the most important discoveries of the ship in history. And if it was the violin he was playing when the ship went down, it would be the most valuable.

But how had the violin survived the immersion? And if Hartley secured it from diving into the body, why was it not counted as one of his personal belongings?

It would be seven years before Aldridge got his answers.

For decades, collectors and researchers had debated the existence of the Hartley violin. Some thought Hartley was too panicked to bother putting his violin in his suitcase and clasping it before he was forced into the water; others referred to contemporary newspaper reports in which Hartley's violin was actually salvaged during the salvage operation.

"At this time [in 2006] I believe that the collectors generally believed that they did not exist," the lawyer Craig Sopin and Titanic expert in mementos, who deals with the auction house Aldridge & Son has advised, says Mental Floss. "But many of us hoped." Four newspapers reported at the time that Hartley had been found with the instrument strapped to him, but these were challenged by more conservative historians who cited the official inventory and its list of objects were returned to family members. These records noted that Hartley had a fountain pen, money and a cigarette case, but did not mention the violin. "There was simply no hard evidence," says Sopin. Hartley himself had been something of a mystery. Born in 1878 as the son of a choirmaster, the bandleader was a banker before devoting himself to his passion for music. Hartley had been on well over 80 sea journeys before being hired to lead the musicians on the Titanic . Probably he has the coveted job as an opportunity to earn good money. In a letter written to his parents on April 10 on April 10, Hartley hinted that wealthy passengers could tip.

"There was a feather in his cap," says Sopin. "He was lucky at first, although in the end he had no luck at all."

An avowed lady-man who thought of himself as an early-century hipster – calling himself a "hotley" in correspondence – Hartley had apparently left his bachelor for Maria Robinson, the daughter of a cloth manufacturer. The two were to be married just months after the expected return of Hartley. Hartley wanted to help his future wife with further bookings at sea.

While Hartley's fate was part of a major 20th century tragedy, Robinson's personal grief was never widely publicized. She wrote letters to authorities in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who were responsible for the wreck and demanded that all Hartley personal belongings be returned to her. In a diary entry of July 1912, discovered during the investigation of the history of the instrument, Robinson wrote a note in which he thanked for the return of the violin. Why did the crew of Mackay-Bennett who was charged with recovering corpses, mention no mention?

"It turned out to be the easiest hurdle," says Sopin. "We learned that there were many personal items that were not logged but returned to the family, and their inventory was not very detailed." Sopin says that almost every body was rescued in a life jacket, and almost all were not reported.

Like the life-jackets, Hartley's suitcase in which he had kept his violin was tied to his body, which would have opened the possibility. The rescue team ignored the items carried by the corpses. "It was not something he could put in his pocket," says Sopin, "so maybe it was not considered a personal effect."

The essay compiled by Sopin and other researchers provided the theory that Hartley believed he had taken the violin. When Maria Robinson died in 1939, her sister Margaret was charged with handling her personal belongings. The violin was given to Major Renwick, a bandleader of the Bridlington Salvation Army, who also taught music. He gave it to one of his students, a woman who was stationed at the Women's Relief Air Force. She later wrote about the gift that it had suffered damage and was not playable due to an "eventful life".

It remained in their possession for almost 75 years. The call that Aldridge received was from the son of the music student who was responsible for sorting his mother's things after her death. (The seller wanted anonymity and did not disclose the name of the family.)

The story was reasonable, but none of it provided conclusive proof that the violin in the attic was the same violin that was used on the outer deck of the Ship was played excitement. To do this, Aldridge would consult with experts on corrosion, silver, and musical instruments to see if the violin had been in the water on the night of April 15, 1912.

"The best way to describe the research was like a jigsaw puzzle with lots of items," says Aldridge Mental Floss. "Everyone had to fit together, be it scientific, historical or researching."

To date the violin into the night of the wreck, Aldridge first turned to the now defunct British Forensic Science Services and their trace analysis experts. Michael Jones (Relying on confidentiality clauses at his former employer, a Jones representative refused to comment on this story.) A salinisation test would determine if the instrument was ever submerged in salt water. "If that had been negative, the investigation would have ended there," says Sopin.

It was positive. Jones was then able to examine the metal parts of the violin, including the engraved tailpiece and clasp on the case, and compare the corrosion with other metal objects collected by both Hartley and other victims in the hands of private collectors. "It was not a fast process," says Aldridge. "These are not the types of items that are easy to obtain."

Eventually, Jones found that the deposits coincided with those found in items known to be finally recovered from the site. He also tried examining algae on the violin to see if they matched the part of the North Atlantic where the ship hit the iceberg, says Sopin, but the results were inconclusive.

Because Aldridge wanted to prove its origin beyond any doubt, authentication continued. The straps of the suitcase were measured and found to be 90 centimeters long so that there is enough left to tie the suitcase around Hartley's body. Aldridge also consulted the gemologist Richard Slater, who examined the engraved plate and found no evidence that it had ever been removed or applied to the instrument.

Aldridge recorded it for a CT scan at Ridgeway Hospital in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. There were cracks in the wood, which in the opinion of the student of Renwick might not be playable, and a kind of glue that would not have dissolved in the seawater. (The heavy leather case offered additional protection from the water.) Aldridge also consulted instrument expert Andrew Hooker, who held no opinion on the violin's connection to the Titanic but confirmed that it was manufactured in the late 19th century repainted and rebuilt, probably due to damage after 10 days of immersion.

"The violin was nothing special," says Hooker Mental Floss. "Just a cheap, factory-made German instrument."

Of course, the value of the instrument was completely tied to where it was played by whom. By 2013, both Aldridge and Sopin – a known skeptical collector who provided a strong litmus test – were convinced. After seven years and tens of thousands of dollars in spending, Aldridge thought he had his answer.

"I stayed neutral until I did not," says Sopin. "I think the violin was on the Titanic ."

The owner's wish had always been to auction the violin and the other Hartley items. Armed with countless evidence from forensic experts, Aldridge and Son did just that on October 19, 2013. Television satellites and media were parked outside Devizes, Wiltshire, England, the site of the auction.

Behind the podium Aldridge began the bid at 50 pounds or around $ 65. Bidders in the hall and over the phone quickly got down to work, taking bids of £ 80,000 to $ 500,000 to $ 750,000. When Aldridge knocked down the hammer one last time, the violin sold 1.1 million pounds or $ 1.7 million. (The bag was sold separately for £ 20,000 or $ 26,000.)

As is the case with large ticket auctions, the buyer has no desire to be named – though it's probably not Sopin. "I was thinking about paying something," he says, "but not $ 1.7 million."

Sopin believes the buyer is male and lives in the UK. It is also known that he exhibited the violin in 2016 at the Titanic Museum at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, as well as at the sister site in Branson, Missouri.

As of now no other Titanic artifact has approached a similar retail price, a testament to the emotional impact of an otherwise inconspicuous instrument. When playing for frightened passengers, Hartley and his band used their talent under extreme pressure to maintain a sense of order and courtesy and probably save lives. At his funeral allegedly 30,000 to 40,000 people participated.

While Aldridge extended his diligence beyond all reasonable doubt, some historians still ask why a stressed-out Hartley had even dealt with the violin at all. "Hartley's mother commented on this," says Sopin. "She thought that if he ever felt like leaving the ship, he would have taken the violin."

Further sources: Background of the auction [PDF]. [Funktion ( d, s, id) {
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