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Titanic Violin Found: The Instrument Played By Wallace Hartley Will Be on Display in the U.S. (VIDEO)

Travelers Today       By    Karen Fredrickson

Updated: May 20, 2013 11:58 AM EDT

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The famous rosewood violin that belonged to the bandmaster on the RMS Titanic, Wallace Hartley, will be unveiled on Wednesday at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, according to USA Today.

The violin will remain on display until July 27, when it will travel to a sister attraction in Branson, Missouri, where it will be displayed from August 1 to August 15, according to the museum owners, who made the announcement on Sunday.

The violin is set to be sold on October 19 in England by the auction house Henry Aldridge & Son. It is expected to reach a sum in the six-figure range.

The auction house revealed the existence of the violin in March after spending seven years verifying its authenticity after it surfaced in 2006.

Hartley and his fellow band members are often depicted in films as playing their instruments to calm frightened passengers until the end.

"The violin without a doubt is the most iconic piece that has been recovered [from the Titanic], including the crow's nest bell," Craig Sopin, a collector, said. "Almost every survivor talked about Wallace playing until the end.

"So here's this violin that calmed passengers getting off the ship, but it's also the very instrument they danced to earlier in the voyage," Sopin continued. "I truly don't believe there would have been as many survivors without him."

Sopin, an attorney in Philadelphia, is a leading expert on the ship and owns a large collection of artifacts. He is one of the experts that studied the violin, along with forensic scientists, and he is convinced that it is the authentic violin that belonged to Hartley.

Steve Turner, a music journalist, was finishing a book, "That Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic," when he learned about the violin's existence.

"I thought it was either an elaborate hoax or the real thing," Turner said in an interview. "There was just so much detail.

"Someone would have had to know so much," Turner added.

After Hartley's body was recovered on April 25, 1912, 10 days after the ship went down, newspaper accounts reported that the violin was in a case strapped to his body.

"My son was a good swimmer, but I know he would die clasping his violin," his mother was quoted as saying. "He was passionately attached to his instrument."

The violin was returned to his fiancé, according to the auction house, where it took a route that included a stop at the Salvation Army. The current owner has not been named.

The Titanic Museum Attractions are the creation of John Joslyn and his wife, Mary Kellogg Joslyn. The Pigeon Forge Museum was opened in 2006, followed by the Branson location in 2010.

The violin played by Wallace Hartley will be displayed in the Titanic Museum in Tennessee.

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