A battered, seawater-damaged violin, that was apparently played to calm passengers on the Titanic as the giant liner sank in 1912, sold for £900,000 ($1,454,400) at an auction on Saturday, a record amount ever for a piece of Titanic memorabilia.

Titanic’s band leader Wallace Hartley famously ‘played on’ the violin as the ship sank in the North Atlantic killing 1,517 people. All the musicians drowned in the disaster.

Harley’s body was plucked from the icy waters several days later, the large leather case in which he carried his violin still strapped to his body.

UK auction house Henry Aldridge and Son has spent over six years and many thousands of pounds researching and investigating the instrument’s authenticity.

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