so sad ...
The latest news from the BBC is that the violin is most probably genuine, according to the latest research using a hospital scanner:
Not really a proof. Anyone could submerge an old violin overnight in a local harbour, repair the cracks and declare it genuine.
If it fetches a lot of $, will be yet another proof that the market value of the instrument often has nothing to do with its sound.
Authentication by CT scan (according to the BBC article)? What a bunch of crap!!!!
If the CT scan could be compared with verified CT scans of the original instrument prior to the ships sinking, maybe it would mean something. But we've got a bit of a problem with that. LOL
If I don't already have a couple of likely candidates for the "Titanic violin" gathering dust in my basement, maybe I'll make one. ;-)
[Yes, I know I'm late to the discussion.]
It has been proven authentic by the people who stand to make a few million. Read into that what you like.
Throughout history, so-called experts have been grossly wrong about many items: art, instruments, money, cloths, bones, and perhaps thousands of others. Hartley's corpse is rumoured to have been at sea for a minimum of 14 days, which is certainly long enough for the salt water to have thoroughly soaked and penetrated any wooden item: and, no violin was found stapped to his body. A violin has very thin plates, and these would have been soaked through in about 3 hours only. The varnish on old instruments is highly volatile and hydroscopic, and salt is highly corrosive. As any old mariner would tell you, salt water causes the old type of varnishes to blister quickly, and upon soaking through will separate the varnish from the wood. Yet, no blisters can be seen on the violin. I cannot see any signs typical of salt water immersion and subsequent air drying. Also, salt is a bleaching agent, so I would expect to see light patches of wood: not the swabbed, light patches of varnish colour we see in the photo. And, i would expect to see salt stains. The ebony woods, too, show no effects of water exposure, let alone salt water exposure. Etc.. This story is simply b/s, and a great shame on the BBC. To test this for yourself, simply soak your antique violin in a saturated solution of salted water for 14 days, then allow to air dry, then place on display for a few years. Please post your results.
A violin can be revived after immersion in salt water.
But I have to agree that the appearance of that "Titanic" fiddle doesn't look to tally with 14-day soaking.
(EDIT) I emailed the auctioneer Andrew Aldridge to ask if and when the sale would take place, etc, and received a reply of which this is an extract :-
"The violin is to be sold on October 19th. Here is some background on the
It is Saxon School Marknewkirchen/Klingenthal, a Factory Made Maggini model
with makers label with Spruce Front and Maple back. I cannot send you a
photo of the label I am afraid as the instrument is in the US at the moment
together with the rest of the collection. There is not a certificate of
authenticity as such with the instrument more an extensive provenance
package containing a number of reports from independent experts ranging from
violin to Forensic Trace analysis. The violin is also the subject of a 400
page book on Wallace Hartley "Nearer our God to Thee".
It will be on view in our saleroom the week prior to its sale on October
19th and you are more than welcome to come and see it then."
(EDIT No.2) Here's a link to an interesting exhibition, August 1 - 15 :-
Last weekend, at Bristol's Harbour Festival, I was in a fund-raising folk band gig on the main deck of a decommissioned old passenger steamship (the "Balmoral") moored alongside the quay and scheduled for the breaker's yard unless £500,000 can be raised to save her.
I can assure you that "Titanic" jokes abounded, such as (when we finished the gig), "No need to re-arrange the chairs, they'll float away when she goes down".
Ok, a violin can be restored and revived. Was this one? by whom? Ok, we have so-called experts telling us it is factory made in Germany, had a CT scan, and more. But the real question is this; what is there to prove beyond doubt this violin did in fact belong to Hartley? The answer is: nothing. We have only conjecture, a story.
The very latest news on the Titanic violin:
It was sold at auction today in Devizes, Wiltshire, England, after 10 minutes of bidding, for £900,000 (approx. US$1.4M) to a buyer who is believed to be British.
This of course in no way reflects the intrinsic value of the instrument, but, as the auctioneer said, the violin was the "rarest and most iconic" piece of Titanic memorabilia.
The auctioneers took seven years to authenticate the violin's provenance by all available means; this had to be 100% certain.
As you can see, there are 1.4 million reasons someone might go to the trouble of faking a violin like this, all you need is the tailpiece and an old violin soaked in seawater, there are no pictures documenting the original instrument as far as I have seen. CT scans aren't going to tell you a damn thing about authenticity, and there's no documentation of the violin ever being found after the wreck in the first place, as far as I know. A hope and a prayer and 1.4 million dollars is all it took!!!!
some people have too much money.
What bothers me is not that this violin is a fake, but that all this money could have been used for humanitarian purposes, or to help young musicians, instead of feeding single person's ego.
But Rocky, why should your opinion about what the money "should" be used for matter, if it is someone else's money, not yours? It's not like this was a purchase funded with taxpayer money where others might reasonably feel they should have some input into how it is spent. I just spent about $10 on a pre-concert dinner at the grocery store, but I could have fed a number of starving 3rd world inhabitants for that same sum if I sent the money to some charity. Do you think I should feel guilty that I didn't? Surely that is a better use of the money than subsidizing violin lessons, no?
And even if we ignore that argument, why is it better to spend the money helping musicians and not struggling writers, painters, ballerinas, or practitioners of any other art? I happen to prefer music, but I would be uncomfortable using that as a justification for apportioning anything more than "my share"—and I think "my share" of the purchaser's money is $0, just like yours :-)
That £900,000 was BEFORE commission and VAT :- the lucky buyer paid £1,185,000 !!
I presume we can now expect a spate of reproduction "Titanic" fiddles hitting the fiddle-shops, but I doubt whether David Burgess will be making any.
No, it is not my money and I have no right to judge.
I just wish there was more compassion instead of egotism in this world.
But we need egos! And those with big egos need to get their fix - albeit in different ways.
Artists generally have big egos...you need one or you wouldn't be able to perform (music, visual art, actors, etc.) in front of the public. Name a top tier violinist without a big ego.
Medical doctors often have big egos...it goes hand in hand with confidence. And frankly, I prefer a confident doctor...
Sports figures also need big egos.
...and of course...politicians...
So why should collectors be any different?
And if we set a ceiling on prices...or on income...or how we should spend our disposable income...then we start living in a communist ideology...and that hasn't worked too well either...
If, as according to the auctioneers, "It is Saxon School Marknewkirchen/Klingenthal, a Factory Made Maggini model" it's a TEUTONIC violin.
Titanic, Teutonic, you say tomato ..... not exactly a tectonic shift ...
I wonder if I can commission a David Burgess Hindenburg model instead of the Titanic. :c)
A Trident submarine model might be better.
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March 15, 2013 at 08:16 PM · Here is another link, from the BBC website:
Although the origin of the violin does not appear to have been mentioned (perhaps its maker and provenance are unknown), the six-figure value in the caption to the photo would, I imagine, largely reflect the unique history surrounding the instrument.