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A violin that was being played as the Titanic sank was discovered in an attic in 2006 and is ready to be put up for auction after being authenticated.
A British auction house has confirmed on Friday that the violin, which belonged to bandmaster Wallace Hartley, originally thought to be lost in the 1912 tragedy, has been found and "incredibly well-preserved.”
The Associated Press reports that survivors of the Titanic, which was famously turned into a film in 1997, remember Hartley and his bandmates continuing to play music despite the ship striking an iceberg and passengers boarding lifeboats.
"It's been a long haul," auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said of proving the discovery was real, saying at first it seemed like it was "too good to be true."
"The deposit on it and the corrosion on it were compatible with immersion in sea water," Aldridge told the AFP of the violin. Engraved on it were the words "For Wallace, on the occasion of our engagement. From Maria” on a silver plaque.
The owner of the instrument, Hartley, was found 10 days after the ship sank.
“It's an incredible human story," he continued. "Wallace Hartley was one of the most important personalities in the story. His bravery was phenomenal. In my opinion, it's one of the most iconic pieces of memorabilia from the 20th century."
He also confirmed his Henry Aldridge and Son, Titanic memorabilia collectors, are in negotiations with “several museums across the world.”