The Worlds First Christmas Card
Henry Aldridge and Son’s last auction of
2013 on December 14th will bring down the curtain one of the most
successful ever year’s for the Devizes Auctioneers.
There will be the usual eclectic mix of
antiques and collectables going under the hammer at the Wiltshire
Auctioneers with the worldwide reputation’s saleroom in Devizes. One of
the highlights is an example of the world's first Christmas Card. Dating
from 1843 this extremely rare pictorial lithograph depicts a Victorian
family eating and being merry at Christmas with two outer panels depicts
Christmas spirit. The card was designed by John Calcott Horsley at the
instigation of Sir Henry Cole. Sir Henry was born in Bath and his many
credits included being the first Director of the Victoria and Albert
museum. There were two types of card, a coloured variant that sold for 1
/ 2d (6p) or the rarer uncoloured version for 1/- (5p). This example is
one of the latter and was sent to a Marinda Cundy and has remained in
the family since 1843. This remarkable piece of history that can quite
rightly be regarded as the Genesis of the Christmas card industry is
estimated to sell for £3000-£5000.
Another fascinating piece of history being
sold relates to Robert Falcon Scott’s 1901-04 Discovery Expedition, the
first official British exploration of the Antarctic regions since James
Clark Ross's voyage sixty years earlier. It is written on official
expedition stationary by Albert Armitage, the second in command from
their winter quarters on 22nd February 1903.
The letter gives the reader a fascinating
first person perspective of this famous expedition and includes details
of discoveries of new land, scientific work carried out and most
importantly of Scott himself. Armitage was a one of the pioneer breed of
explorers from the turn of the 20th century having been part of the
Jackson–Harmsworth Expedition to the North Pole in 1894-97 and was the
first person to walk on the polar plateau during the Discovery
Expedition. It is estimated at £1500-£2500.
The diversity of this particular auction is
illustrated in the breadth of items being sold. There are over 800 lots
going under the hammer. Due to the sale’s proximity to Christmas it will
represent an excellent opportunity to buy an imaginative Christmas gift
for the loved one who has everything. As well as more obvious presents
such as Silver, Jewellery and a beautiful ladies gold Rolex wristwatch.
There are specific selections of Chinese material that will include
numerous worked items of Jade, Polynesian and South Sea artefacts such
as a Prehistoric polished stone Adze from New Zealand, rare Buddy Holly
memorabilia and a unique previously unrecorded example of an Edward I
silver Groat. There are also a number of good examples of postcards,
antiques, ceramics, paintings and general collectables in the sale.
The auctioneers are now accepting entries
for their first auction of Collectables and Antiques of 2014 on February
15th. The next free valuation day is on December 12th between 10am.
Please visit www.henry-aldridge.com or contact Andrew Aldridge BA Hons
MRICS Chartered Arts and Antiques Surveyor at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 01380 729199 for further details.
Titanic Violin Smashes World Record Selling for £1.1m
The world’s media descended on the sleepy
Wiltshire Town of the Devizes on October 19th for the auction of the
world-famous violin played by RMS Titanic bandmaster Wallace Hartley on
board the ill-fated liner. Henry Aldridge and Son, the world’s leading
auctioneers of blue chip Titanic memorabilia and confirmed not only this
reputation but also their ability to attract world record prices when
selling items at auction. The instrument, which was discovered in 2006,
was played by second-class passenger Wallace Hartley on Titanic’s
fateful night of April 14th, 1912. It is sold alongside a leather
luggage case initialled W. H. H. (Wallace Henry Hartley), in which
Wallace placed the violin before going into the cold North Atlantic on
the morning of April 15th 1912.
The media scrum at the sale included live
broadcasts throughout the day from BBC and SKY with additional crews
from America and Europe including NBC. The sale itself was featured on
prime time television around the world from America, Europe, Australia
Before the auction the violin went on
exhibition at Titanic Branson and Titanic Pigeon Forge in the United
States, the largest Titanic museums in the world where over 315000
viewed it and also at Titanic Belfast, the award winning visitor
attraction in Northern Ireland, Belfast City Hall and made a final
poignant journey to Dewsbury in Yorkshire, where Wallace Hartley lived.
The violin attracted interest from buyers
around the world with numerous telephone lines booked and took a little
more than ten minutes to sell, the new owner a private collector of
Titanic and iconic items of historical significance is based in the UK
and paid £1.1m for the honour of owing the most important piece of
Titanic memorabilia ever to be sold at auction.
The violin itself is German, probably Berlin
or Dresden school, circa 1880, bearing a later label Giovan Paolo
Maggini Brescia. It is a copy of a Maggini with double purfled back and
front, the two piece back of medium curl descending from the joint. The
original varnish, now largely absent, is of a dark brown colour with a
later golden brown covering. Its eventful life is reflected in the
condition with signs of restoration and large cracks on the body of the
instrument. The tail plate fitted to the violin bears a silver hallmark
Chester, 1910 and is engraved “For WALLACE on the occasion of our
ENGAGEMENT from MARIA”. It was given to Dewsbury resident Wallace
Hartley as a gift from his fiancée Maria Robinson on the event of their
engagement. Regarded as a hero in Titanic folk lore, Hartley is credited
with the decision to lead his eight-strong band into the historic hymn
‘Nearer, My God, to Thee’ in an attempt to calm passengers as they
boarded lifeboats. All eight men perished in the disaster, and Hartley’s
remains were recovered on April 25th 1912 by the crew of the ship,
MacKay Bennett. His body was recorded as number 224.
Widely regarded as the world’s leading
experts in the sale of RMS Titanic memorabilia, Henry Aldridge and Son
have unparalleled experience in auctioning and handling the rarest
memorabilia to be offered and describe the Hartley Violin as “the Holy
Since its discovery in 2006, the violin has
been the subject of an extensive scientific and historical investigation
by some of the leading experts globally in their respective fields. The
provenance of the instrument and associated collection can be traced
back to Maria Robinson, Wallace's fiancée, its discovery in Halifax Nova
Scotia, through to the present day, an aspect of the archive that is
covered in depth by Dewsbury author, Christian Tennyson-Ekberg in his
400 page biography of Wallace Hartley and Maria Robinson, Nearer Our God
An early part of the historical research
into the collection was based around the fact that the violin and music
case were not mentioned in the victim's body effects list. Detailed
research into an original copy of this list showed a number of anomalies
and examples of inaccurate information proving that the list could not
regarded as definitive. The most likely explanation was that the case
containing the violin was simply not regarded as a "body effect", a term
that was used in the preparation of the effects lists for all of the
recovered bodies, which was corroborated in an interview with the
Captain of the ship that recovered Wallace’s body.
Henry Aldridge and Son employed the services
of the British Government owned Home Office Forensic Science Service, a
body providing scientific services to the police and other law
enforcement agencies in the UK and overseas the scientific tests into
the collection. Under the stewardship of Michael Jones, an FSS trace
analysis and Crown Prosecution Witness expert with over 29 years’
experience in the field, the violin, music case and items recovered from
Wallace's body were subjected to numerous tests at the FSS Laboratory in
Chepstow, Begbroke Nano, Oxford Materials Characterization Services at
the University of Oxford and Ridgeway Clinic in Swindon where a CT scan
of the interior of the instrument was conducted. The results of the
trace analysis were found to be compatible with material that had been
recovered from other Titanic victims including Titanic postal worker
Oscar Woody and Third class passenger Carl Asplund.
Michael Jones, who led the scientific
“The silver fish plate was analysed by use
of a Scanning Electron Microscope in conjunction with an X-ray
Microprobe Analysis System. This method allows both the visualisation
and elemental analysis of solid samples”.
“In my opinion the findings in relation to
the corrosion associated with the metal fixtures of the travel case in
which the violin was recovered, and also to the portfolio would be
considered compatible with immersion in seawater. The silver fish plate
present on the violin visually appears to be an original fixture. The
four screw fixtures appear very heavily corroded. There was no evidence
observed to suggest that this plate had been recently attached to the
violin or had been attached as a replacement of an earlier fixture.
Again the corrosion deposits associated with the surfaces of this silver
metal fish plate would be considered compatible with immersion in
seawater. This may be further supported by the findings in relation to
the lining material of the travel case”
Craig Sopin is a world authority on the
history of Titanic, owning one of the largest private collections of
Titanic artefacts. Craig has advised museums and auction rooms and is
Corporate Secretary of the Titanic International Society.
"To say I was sceptical at first would be an
understatement", said Craig Sopin. "But, after I conducted an
exhaustively detailed investigation into the history and forensics of
the instrument, I became convinced beyond doubt that this violin
belonged to Wallace Hartley and that it was with him on RMS Titanic"
Jack Eaton, is a co-founder of the Titanic
International Society and served as an historical consultant to
expeditions to the wreck site in 1993, 1996 and 1998 and made a dive to
the wreck in 1993. He has appeared in many TV documentaries and written
numerous articles for Voyage, the TIS journal. With his co-author
Charles Haas, he has written five books: Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy,
Titanic: Destination Disaster; Titanic, The Exhibition; Titanic: A
Journey Through Time; and Falling Star: Misadventures of White Star Line
Ships, which are widely regarded as definitive on the subject. Jack
describes the different skills that were utilised to confirm the
“The story is one of those rare tales that
involve science, art and history in a sort of breathless maelstrom whose
vortex is Civilized Discovery”.
Richard Slater is a leading silver expert
who serves on the Council of the Gemmological Association of Great
Britain and is a graduate of Gem-A. London-based Gem-A is the longest
established and most highly respected international gem education body.
He was also the head of silver and Jewellery at a leading London
auctioneer for over 12 years, he states:
“In my opinion the engraving on the silver
panel is contemporary with the hallmarks and all the pieces are in
original condition. I have examined the piece using a 10X loupe and it
would appear that the silver panel has not been removed from the fish
Andrew Hooker was brought in by the
auctioneers for his expertise as a renowned violin expert and author,
his impressive CV included seven years as head of musical instruments at
Sotheby’s where he handled violins ranging from modest instruments to
"The style of the violin - that is,
inexpensive, German, and factory-made, is entirely consistent with the
status of a bandsman on a ship".
Stanley Lehrer is founder and former
president, publisher and editorial director of USA Today. He is also the
world's foremost collector of Titanic artefacts and memorabilia. Many of
his priceless pieces are showcased by Titanic Museum Attractions in
Branson, MI and Pigeon Forge, TN in the United States.
"By analysing all the facts about the case
and the violin, I am convinced that the violin is indeed the one Wallace
Hartley played aboard Titanic and valued it enough to safeguard its
Steve Santini has been a collector,
historian and researcher of Titanic related relics for over 30 years and
is regarded as a world authority in Titanic recovered items and counts
being a consultant on James Cameron’s movie “Titanic” on his impressive
"Personally, I am of the opinion that the
Hartley violin exhibits exactly the sort of condition issues one could
expect to see in an instrument protected in a leather suitcase floating
about for a number of days in very cold seawater".
Paul Burns, Curator and VP of Titanic
Branson and Titanic Pigeon Forge, the world’s leading Titanic museums,
commented "I have been profoundly lucky to handle thousands of artefacts
from throughout the world's history for more than 25 years. However, I
am truly humbled by this precious violin and its provenance package,
which is by far the most extensive in my personal experience".
John Joslyn, expedition leader of the first
private exploration dive to Titanic and owner of the Titanic Museum
Attractions in Branson MI and Pigeon Forge TN, said "I've explored
Titanic and documented my discoveries for television and even built two
giant museum attractions in tribute to this iconic ship, but when I came
face-to-face with the actual violin Hartley had played that cold April
night, the whole
Titanic experience came into focus, bringing
an emotional and melancholy close to a catastrophic chapter in the
Steve Turner, is the bestselling author of
The Band That Played On, the story of the Wallace Hartley and the
Titanic’s band. He describes the iconic nature of the instrument.
"I first heard about the existence of the
Hartley violin while researching my book The Band That Played On that
told the stories of the eight musicians. At that time it was still
undergoing forensic tests but everything I knew about it pointed to be
it being the real thing and I confidently made this claim in my final
chapter. As a piece of the Titanic story I can't think of another
artefact so imbued with poignancy and history as the instrument on which
bandleader Hartley played his favourite hymn 'Nearer, My God, To Thee'
as the great ship tilted beneath the icy sea. It is a great symbol of
faith, survival and enduring love."
Alan Aldridge, company principal of the
Henry Aldridge and Son describes the collection:
“Bandleader Hartley was an incredibly brave
man whose actions helped to calm passengers during Titanic’s last hours.
The authentication process behind the collection has been a long and
exhaustive one with some of the world’s leading experts in their
respective fields helping to assemble a conclusive package of
independent reports to accompany the archive”.
Andrew Aldridge, a Chartered Valuation
Surveyor with Henry Aldridge and Son Auctioneer, said: “The Wallace
Hartley Titanic violin is one of the most iconic collectables from the
20th century. There has been a certain element of CSI behind the
research; a mixture of modern scientific techniques allied with
historical research”. “It’s an exceptional price for an exceptional
item, it proves owners of iconic and collectable memorabilia do not have
to travel to London to sell their items, this sale has put Devizes on
Other items in the sale included Wallace
Hartley’s bag which the violin was held in which made £30000, his music
portfolio and music £25000 and a rare photo of Titanic victims being
recovered at sea £18000. More modest items in the auction included
photographs for several thousand pounds, the violin that was played in
James Cameron’s movie Titanic £12000 and even a collection of woodwork
from Titanic’s sister ship Olympic £4000.
Press Contact: Andrew Aldridge email@example.com
for high resolution digital images.
Taste of Tibet.
Henry Aldridge and Son’s latest auction of
Antiques and Collectables on September 21st brought together an eclectic
collection of material from around the world. The August 10th sale was
dominated by a unique archive of material from the infamous 1904 Tibet
Expedition led by Colonel Francis Younghusband that sold for £140000.
Henry Aldridge and Son hit the headlines again in the days preceding the
auction with coverage of items being sold in the sale in both The Times
and Daily Mail. The Younghusband expedition was effectively a temporary
invasion by British Indian forces under the auspices of the Tibet
The expedition was intended to counter Russia's perceived ambitions in
the East and was initiated largely by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India.
Curzon had long been obsessed over Russia's advance into Central Asia
and now feared a Russian invasion of British India. In April 1903, the
British received clear assurances from the Russian government that it
had no interest in Tibet. "In spite, however, of the Russian assurances,
Lord Curzon continued to press for the dispatch of a mission to Tibet,"
a high level British political officer noted.
The expedition fought its way to Gyantse and eventually reached Lhasa,
the capital of Tibet, in August 1904. The Dalai Lama had fled to safety,
first in Mongolia and later in China, but thousands of Tibetans armed
with antiquated muzzle-loaders and swords had been mown down by modern
rifles and Maxim machine guns while attempting to block the British
Three separate collections from British Army Officers who served in the
expedition went under the hammer and included both photographic material
and relics from Tibet. An album of photographs of the Forbidden City of
Lhasa sold to a collector for £12000 with a collection of photographs of
India and Tibet making £2000, a beautifully illustrated Thangka sold to
a collector in the room for £2100, a carved treen ritual Phurba £3700
and a set of monastery keys dropped by a monk and recovered by Colonel
Marindin, an officer on the expedition made £2000.
There was a strong oriental flavour to the sale with numerous quality
entries allied with the Tibetan items. They included a pair of spinach
jade Kylins which made £1000, a Chinese Trumpet vase £2300 and an
unusual silver cup by Luen Hing of Shanghai £950.
A collection of postcards comprising of Edwardian scenes of Devon,
Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset proved popular selling for just above
their top estimate at £1100. Further collections included Militaria,
medals, Guinness, ceramics and objects of virtu. An extremely rare
Jaeger Le Coultre 'Compass I' camera and accessories dating from the
1930’s caused a lot of excitement from camera collectors and sold to a
telephone bidder in Cyprus against strong interest in the room for
£2900. Traditional antiques attracted strong prices from members of the
general public with an unusual 18th century Montgomeryshire housekeepers
cupboard making £2400, a beautiful early 19th century Yew hall chair
selling to a phone bidder from London for £1200 and an oil on canvas by
Arthur Gordon of the Thames £800.
Prices for silver and jewellery were as strong as ever, particular
highlights were an 18ct Gold Rolex Gentleman’s Oyster Perpetual Daydate
wristwatch which made £6400, a stunning vintage 1960’s Rolex GMT Master
Chronometer at £5200 and a vintage Brietling Chronomat in need of
Henry Aldridge and Son’s next auction is on October 19th which will
feature the world famous Wallace Hartley Titanic violin which was viewed
by over 300000 people while on tour at Titanic Branson and Pigeon Forge
in the United States. The auctioneers are now accepting entries for
their November 2nd Collectables and Antiques auction. Please visit
www.henry-aldridge.com or contact Andrew Aldridge BA Hons MRICS
Chartered Arts and Antiques Surveyor at firstname.lastname@example.org or
01380 729199 for further details.
Iconic Younghusband Expedition
Items Sell for £140000 in Devizes
Gilt Mahakala that sold for £77000 and
BBC Flog It! Presenter Paul Martin with a Rare Sino Tibetian Teapot
featured in the show that sold for £2200
Henry Aldridge and Son’s
first antiques and collectables sale of the summer on August 10th was
one to remember. Alan and Andrew Aldridge spent July travelling around
the region apprising a fascinating array of collectables for sale, a
number of which went under the hammer with record breaking results. The
pre-sale publicity for the auction was dominated by a unique archive of
material from the infamous 1904 Tibet Expedition led by Colonel Francis
Younghusband that was sold for £140000 by the Wiltshire Auctioneers with
the Worldwide Reputation.
The expedition was
effectively a temporary invasion by British Indian forces under the
auspices of the Tibet Frontier Commission. One of its most controversial
elements of was the massacre of Chumik Shenko, one officer at the time
wrote "I got so sick of the slaughter that I ceased fire, though the
general’s order was to make as big a bag as possible," wrote Lieutenant
Arthur Hadow, commander of the Maxim guns detachment. "I hope I shall
never again have to shoot down men walking away".
The archive was sold via direct descent from an
Officer on the expedition and included over 140 original photographs
taken during the campaign, it was first time the British were given
access to the country. The images depicted the haunting beauty of the
secluded country and brought pictures of Tibetan landscapes to the west
for the first time including both military and civilian scenes.
Estimated at £8000-£12000, they sold to a telephone bidder for just over
The sale also numbered material brought back by
Captain Haymen from the expedition that included a small group of
religious icons. Highlights were a Sino Tibetan deity gilt on white
metal set with the remains of turquoise jewels showing Ushnishavijaya,
measuring only 5ins in height it sold for an impressive £45000 and a
truly stunning Sino Tibetan deity gilt on copper of Mahakala standing on
a human figure holding a skull cap & chopper with a garland of skulls
around his shoulders and waist, embellished with small turquoise, pink
and blue stone mounted on a lotus stand. Although small in stature at
8ins it sold for £77000 to a buyer in the room against competition from
phone bidders in China, Hong-Kong and the United States.
The BBC Flog It! Cameras were in attendance to
witness the record breaking prices in the saleroom and had a number of
surprises of their own, not least a silver and brass teapot also from
the Younghusband expedition that was estimated by one of the Flog It!
Experts at £80-£120 making £2200, a very fine and highly desirable
Longines oversized silver pilot's wristwatch with sweep centre seconds
and Weems second setting system made £4800 and a collection of
1960’s/70’s movie posters that went to a collector for a shade under
£3000. A group of gold coins also sold well at £4000 proving the market
was still strong.
A good section of Antique furniture went under the
hammer on the 10th, with pieces from shortly after the Civil war being
sold alongside material from the Aesthetic and Arts and Crafts movements
of the late 19th and early 20th century. A beautiful early Georgian oak
Dresser made £2300, a pair of 19th
century card tables £3000, a Carolean oak chest of drawers £1600 and a
lovely George III serpentine fronted chest of drawers achieved £1200.
Henry Aldridge are now accepting entries for
their September 21st Collectables and Antiques auction as well as
holding their next free valuation day on August 29th.
Please visit www.henry-aldridge.com or contact Andrew Aldridge BA Hons
MRICS Chartered Arts and Antiques Surveyor at email@example.com
for further details.
Champion Prices at
Henry Aldridge and Son’s first antiques and collectables sale of the
summer on Saturday June 22nd was a resounding success. An unusual array
of antiques and collectables were on offer but one particular lot
attracted a little more attention than the others. The first official
team sheet that Manchester United Legend Sir Alex Ferguson who was
arguably the finest manager in the history of football used for his
first match in charge of the Red Devils went under the hammer. The level
of interest came from all four corners of the globe with collectors from
as far afield as China, Australia and the United States looking to
aquire it. The Football League sheet signed by Sir Alex was submitted
for the Oxford United match played at the Manor Ground on November 8th
1986. Manchester United lost 2-0 which was an inauspicious start to a
dynasty that yielded a record 13 Premier League titles and Two Champions
Leagues among its haul of over 30 trophies. The team in November 1986
was a little different to the star studied affair for Sir Alex’s last
game in charge that included global stars such as Robin Van Persie. The
first match included names such as Chris Turner in goal, Paul McGrath at
Centre Back and Peter Davenport up front. The vendor was a lifelong
Oxford fan from Wiltshire and it was given to him by Peter Rhoades
Brown, an Oxford player as a souvenir. A number of telephone bidders
competed with online bids and those in the room, the successful
purchaser paid £19500.
Other items that sold well included a pair of Doulton Hannah Barlow
stoneware vases that made £1400, a Rolex Airking that made £1500, a set
of gold spoons £7300, two gold pocket watches £2200 and a Jaeger Atmos
Henry Aldridge’s next auction is already looking to be one to remember
with entries now being invited. The Wiltshire Auctioneers with the
Worldwide reputation are holding their next free valuation day on the
Please visit www.henry-aldridge.com or contact Andrew Aldridge BA Hons
MRICS Chartered Arts and Antiques Surveyor at firstname.lastname@example.org
for further details.
The Dawn of a
Aldridge and Son’s first antiques and collectables sale of the summer is
on Saturday June 22nd. An unusual array of antiques and collectables
will be on offer but one particular lot is destined to attract a little
more attention than the others. The first official team sheet that
Manchester United Legend and arguably the finest manager in the history
of football for his first match in charge of the Red Devils will be
going under the hammer. The Football League sheet signed by Sir Alex
that was submitted for the Oxford United match played at the Manor
Ground on November 8th 1986. Manchester United lost 2-0 which was an
inauspicious start to a dynasty that yielded a record 13 Premier League
titles and Two Champions Leagues among its haul of over 30 trophies. The
team in November 1986 was a little different to the star studied affair
for Sir Alex’s last game in charge that included global stars such as
Robin Van Persie. The first match included names such as Chris Turner in
goal, Paul McGrath at Centre Back and Peter Davenport up front. The
present owner is a lifelong Oxford fan and it was given to him by Peter
Rhoades Brown, an Oxford player as a souvenir. There has been
significant interest from all over the world in the item so far due to
the press coverage it has achieved.The auction also has a number of
collections of different types. These range from over 400 pieces of
Crown Devon ware to a significant collection of Black Forest bears of
various sizes and styles.
The military section contains a particularly fascinating lot which will
command significant interest. It is a Samuel and Sons of London South
Lancashire Regimental drum. However behind the façade this item has a
fascinating story, it carries an inscription dated 27/5/40. Saved from
Dunkirk by Gunner Dolan 174/56 Highland Medium Regiment RA. It was given
to the vendor’s father who was a military tailor in lieu of a debt while
Gunner Dolan was serving in Larkhill during the war. Gunner Taylor
recovered the drum from the sea hence its warped frame and water
Henry Aldridge will be holding their next free valuation day on the June
20th with entries still being accepted for what promises to be an
exciting Antiques and Collectables sale on the 22nd June. Please visit
www.henry-aldridge.com or contact Andrew Aldridge BA Hons MRICS
Chartered Arts and Antiques Surveyor at email@example.com for
violin” exclusively on display in America at Titanic Museum Attractions
before going up for auction in England
survived historic RMS Titanic sinking and belonged to storied Titanic
bandmaster, Wallace Hartley
Pigeon Forge, Tenn. – For the first and only time in the United States,
the iconic violin, depicted in Titanic-themed movies and used by Wallace
Hartley on Titanic, will be on display at the Titanic Museum Attractions
in Pigeon Forge, TN, and Branson, MO, announces Titanic Museum
Attractions’ owner, John Joslyn.
According to Joslyn, this unique artefact was unveiled to the American
public on Wednesday, May 22 during a packed media conference at 10 a.m.
at Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge. It will remain there until
Saturday, July 27 before it travels to the Titanic Museum Attraction’s
sister-location in Branson. It will be on display in Branson, Thursday,
Aug. 1 through Thursday, Aug. 15 prior to it travelling back to England
where it will be auctioned off by Henry Aldridge and Son on Saturday,
Widely regarded as the world’s leading experts in the sale of RMS
Titanic memorabilia, Henry Aldridge and Son have unparalleled experience
in auctioning the rarest memorabilia ever to be offered and describe the
Hartley Violin as “the Holy Grail.”
visit to Pigeon Forge with the Hartley Violin is the culmination of
nearly seven years of research,” said Alan Aldridge, Principal of Henry
Aldridge and Son. “I hope my visit to the Titanic Museum Attractions
will enable their guests to understand the importance of the Wallace
This historic violin has had its share of controversy. However, with the
assistance of some leading experts in their respective fields, an
extensive provenance package exists and according to officials with the
Titanic Museum Attractions and leading independent Titanic experts, the
violin belongs to Wallace Hartley.
Craig Sopin, leading Titanic artefact expert and owner of the one of the
world’s largest private collections of Titanic artefacts, believes in
the violin’s authenticity.
“To say I was sceptical at first would be an understatement,” said Sopin.
“But, after I conducted an exhaustively detailed investigation into the
history and forensics of the instrument, I became convinced beyond doubt
that this violin belonged to Wallace Hartley and that it was with him on
Joslyn explains that in addition to Sopin and Aldridge, other experts,
including a forensic scientist, noted violin and silver/jewellery
experts, collectors and historians all agree that the violin is
For example, as per analysis and testing performed by Michael Jones, a
29-year veteran of forensic science and former employee of the United
Kingdom’s Home Office Forensic Science Service, the violin is compatible
with immersion in seawater. The FSS was a government-owned company in
the U.K. which provided forensic science services to the police forces
and government agencies of England and Wales, as well as other
“In my opinion, the findings in relation to the corrosion associated
with the metal fixtures of the travel case in which the violin was
recovered, and also the silver fish plate attached to the violin would
be considered compatible with immersion in seawater,” said Jones. “The
results compared were compatible with material that had been recovered
from other Titanic victims including Titanic postal worker, Oscar Woody
and third-class passenger, Carl Asplund.”
Another such expert convinced of the violin’s authenticity is Stanley
Lehrer, the world’s foremost and largest Titanic collector. “By
analysing all the facts about the case and the violin, I am convinced
that the violin is indeed the one Wallace Hartley played aboard Titanic
and valued it enough to safeguard its survival,” explains Lehrer.
Due to this historical exhibit, special ticketed, VIP private previews
of the Wallace Hartley Violin exhibit, limited to only 25 persons will
be offered daily beginning at 8:30 a.m., starting Thursday, May 23.
Reservations are required.
Joslyn says the Titanic Museum Attractions plan to donate a portion of
all ticket sales to Strings Crossings, an intensive summer camp for
violin, viola, cello and bass students in grades eight through 12
conducted at Belmont University’s comprehensive School of Music.
Additional information about the Wallace Hartley Violin exhibit and
other special VIP events at the Titanic Museum Attractions can be found
Titanic Museum Attractions opens daily at 9 a.m. Reservations for tours
are required. Passengers may purchase regular tickets online at
www.titanicattraction.com or to find out more information on the early
morning VIP tour by phone at (800) 381-7670.
comes to Longleat
The popular BBC One antiques programme Flog It!
presented by Paul Martin, is coming to Wiltshire on Thursday 18th
Flog It! – the major BBC antiques show is now on its twelfth series and regularly
achieves an audience of over two million viewers in its weekday
and gardens will be
hosting the Flog
It! valuation day. Rather like a treasure hunt, members of the
public are invited to bring along up to three antiques and
collectables they might be interested in selling. Once valued, the
owner and a team of experts decide whether an item should go forward
for auction. If the item is chosen it is included in a sale a few
weeks later –hopefully when the auctioneers hammer falls its owners
make a tidy sum. Everyone who goes along to the Valuation Day will
receive a free valuation – even if their antiques are not chosen to
go forward for auction.
Last year the show made a significant find when a rare Aboriginal
Broad Shield that had been kept hidden away in a Flog It!
viewers wardrobe was brought along to a valuation day in North
Lincolnshire and went on to sell at auction for £30,000! The series
also uncovered an unusual Royal Doulton Spook figurine in Blackpool
which had been bought at a car boot sale for £2; it went on to sell
at auction for £5000.
Louise Hibbins, Series Producer says “Paul Martin and the entire
Flog It! team are really pleased to be bringing the show to
Wiltshire. Longleat will provide the perfect setting for our
valuation day event; our experts are all looking forward to
welcoming people along for their free valuations. If you’ve ever
wondered how much your boot sale bargains or clutter in the loft
might be worth, now is your chance to find out.”
Longleat media manager, Steve Mytton says: “It’s fantastic to have
Flog It! come to Longleat. The House and gardens will provide
the perfect backdrop for the programme as well as a place for people
to discover what their antiques are really worth. With over 450
years of history within the House and estate in addition to all the
antiques expected to be brought here I’m sure Flog It! will
feel right at home!”
Martin who lives in the village of Seend near Melksham will be joined on
the valuation day by Flog It! on screen experts David Fletcher,
Mark Stacey and Michael Baggott.
will be at Longleat House, Longleat, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 7NW on
Thursday 18th July between 09:30am and 4pm. The items
selected at the valuation day will go under the hammer at Henry Aldridge
& Son Auctioneers, Unit 1 Bath Road Business Centre, Bath Road, Devizes,
Wiltshire, SN10 1XA on Saturday 10th August.
“This is a fine ship &
there ought to be plenty of money on her”
Wallace Hartley letter
written onboard Titanic sold for a record price.
Aldridge and Son, the world’s leading auctioneers of Titanic memorabilia
held their latest auction of Titanic collectables to commemorate the
101st anniversary of the loss of the Royal Mail Steamer Titanic on April
20th 2013. RMS Titanic left Southampton on April 10th 1912 on the start
of a journey which ended in tragedy in the cold North Atlantic on April
14th 1912 with the loss of over 1500 lives.
principal lots in the auction had travelled to Belfast City Hall
together with the famous Wallace Hartley violin and had been viewed by
over 16000 people from all over the world in only four days. In addition
to this the sale had been on view at Henry Aldridge and Son’s Devizes
auction rooms in the week preceding the auction with visitors from as
far afield as Canada and Australia viewing them.
Wallace Hartley was the bandmaster on the Titanic, He is perhaps the
most identifiable and iconic figure of the disaster, remembered along
with his seven other band members for playing on until the very last
moments. Indeed, they arguably saved many lives by helping to keep the
passengers calm and, thus, avoiding panic.
band and Hartley in particular, have been depicted as the ship's heroes
in virtually every genre including postcards, song sheets, books, stage
and films-as well as history. None of the band survived. Incredibly this
letter was mentioned in a press interview with Wallace Harleys mother
Elizabeth in the Dewsbury News on April 27th 1912. The letter was
written on adjoining sheets of on-board Titanic stationery with company
watermark and hand dated by Hartley on April 10th 1912.
bears the red embossed White Star Line house burgee. Hartley writes to
his parents on the first day of sailing, in full:
a line to say we have got away all right. It's been a bit of a rush but
I am just getting a little settled. This is a fine ship & there ought to
be plenty of money on her. I've missed coming home very much & it would
have been nice to have seen you all if only for an hour or two, but I
couldn't manage it. We have a fine band & the boys seem very nice. I
have had to buy some linen & I sent my washing home today by post. I
shall probably arrive home on the Sunday morning. We are due here on the
Saturday. I'm glad mother's foot is better."
are unaware of any other surviving letter written by Hartley on board
the ship. Clearly, this letter which mentions the band and eludes to the
wealth on-board the ship (implying that some of it would make its way to
the band in the form of gratuities). A number of phone bidders from
around the world tried to acquire this item and it was sold to a
collector from the United States for over £93000.
Hartley was born in June 1878 making him 33 years old at the time of the
disaster.As a musician, he travelled as a Second Class passenger. He did
not survive the sinking and his body was recovered by the cable ship
Mackay-Bennett and assigned body No. 224. His body was returned to his
home town of Colne, Lancashire where Hartley received a very large
funeral. The first part of the Wallace Hartley/Maria Robinson archive
also went under the hammer alongside the other items in the sale. The
collection was spread between buyers from the US, Canada and Great
Britain. Items sold included items recovered from Mr Hartley’s body
selling for over £25000 to items from his fiancée Miss Robinson such as
a gold Colne memorial medal for £600 and a gold locket showing Wallace
Captain Edward J. Smith was the Master of the Titanic and any material
relating to his in incredibly rare. Henry Aldridge were privileged to be
auctioning the private collection of his only daughter Helen. It
included a letter written in 1906 onboard the Baltic from Smith, the
rarity of this items lies in the fact that it shows a completely
different side to then man known as the “Millionaires Captain”.
could not catch a little bunny to send you in my letter! I send you a
card by this little bird. I hope mother + you + Gladys are well. I shall
soon be home (D.V. Your loving Daddy)”
Captain Smith had sketched a small song bird with an envelope on the
letter. This letter represents a unique insight into Captain Smith as a
family man rather than his public persona. It was with its original
envelope handwritten by Smith and addressed to Miss H.M. Smith, a
private collector from the UK bought the letter for £8000. Also included
in the archive are personal items and a collection of previously unseen
photographs of Smith, these sold for over £4000.
lots in the auction include a rare promotional poster of Titanic £5500,
a rare photograph of Titanic as she left Queenstown £4000 and a first
class door and surround from Titanic’s sister ship £5000.
Aldridge and Son are now accepting entries for our October 19th Titanic
and Transport auction, items already consigned include a very rare
Montague Black promotional poster of Titanic estimated at £30000-£40000.
Please visit www.henry-aldridge.com for further details.