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Violin from Titanic sets 'world record'

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AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) - A picture dated September 16, 2013 shows the violin played by bandmaster Wallace Hartley during the final moments before the sinking of the Titanic at a conservation studio in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. The violin is expected to attract huge attention and fetch a world record fee when it goes on auction on October 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ PETER MUHLYPETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 6:15 p.m.

LONDON — A violin believed to have been played on the Titanic before the doomed vessel sank was auctioned on Saturday for more than $1.6 million, a figure that one collector said may never be beaten.

The sea-corroded instrument, now unplayable, probably belonged to Wallace Hartley, whose band stoically continued playing on the ship's deck until the disaster's final hour. More than 1,500 perished in the 1912 disaster. The last music they played was “Nearer My God to Thee.”

“It's a world record for a Titanic artifact,” said Peter Boyd-Smith, a Titanic memorabilia collector at the auction, hosted by Henry Aldridge and Son in the town of Devizes.

“The only other items that are probably worth that kind of money are the items salvaged from RMS Titanic if they are ever put up for sale and those are in the exhibitions that go around America and Europe.

“It may never get beaten.”

The violin, with Hartley's name on it, is believed to have been found at sea with the musician's body more than a week after the Titanic sank.

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