04/22/2013 04:18 pm ET Updated Apr 23, 2013

Letter From Titanic Band Leader Wallace Hartley Sold For Nearly $142,000 At Auction (PHOTOS)

A letter composed by the bandmaster of the Titanic fetched quite a high price at auction Saturday.

Penned by Wallace Hartley, the handwritten letter was purchased for £93,000 (nearly $142,000) by an anonymous collector through auctioneer Henry Aldridge & Son, the U.K. Press Association reports.


Hartley, who perished when the ship sank during its maiden voyage in 1912, is known for continuing to play with the other musicians the Titanic in an attempt to calm the passengers while the ship was sinking.

The BBC notes that experts initially estimated the letter would sell for £50,000 to £60,000 (about $76,000 to $91,000). However, the significance of the Titanic artifact drove bids much higher.

"To say this letter is extremely rare would be a profound understatement for it is the only handwritten letter written by English violinist and Titanic band leader Wallace Hartley while on [the] Titanic known to exist," the auction house explained on its website.

Written on two pieces of stationery from the iconic vessel, the letter is dated April 10, 1912 -- five days before the ship went down -- and addressed to Hartley's parents. The contents of the letter read:

Just 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.

According to The Lancashire Telegraph, the Titanic bandmaster's letter was previously sold to the tune of $186,000 at an auction in New Hampshire last year. At the time, the Titanic In Lancashire museum launched a fundraising campaign in order to obtain the letter but was outbid.

Earlier this year, Hartley's violin -- the same instrument he played while the ship was sinking -- was revealed for the first time, after Henry Aldridge & Son had verified its authenticity. The violin is expected to go up for auction later this year.

Titanic Band Leader's Handwritten Letter
Titanic Band Leader's Handwritten Letter