A Rare Stradivarius Violin from 1721 sold to an anonymous bidder for a record £9.8 million ($15.9 million) at auction in a charity sale for Japanese disaster relief. Tarisio, the online auction house for fine instruments, sold the Lady Blunt Stradivarius violin for a world-record price, at their June 20 auction, over 4 times the previous auction record for a Stradivari violin.
The exquisite instrument was owned for 30 years by Lady Anne Blunt, granddaughter of the celebrated English poet Lord Byron, and is in much the same condition as when it left its maker’s hands, expert said. The sale of the Lady Blunt sparked massive interest from collectors around the globe, eager for the unique opportunity to own a piece of history. This was the first time that the violin has sold publicly since 1971 when it was sold at Sotheby’s for £84,000, also a world record at the time.
The instrument is valuable largely because so few have played it. The original varnish shimmers, the sharply curved edges aren’t dulled by handling and the marks of Stradivari’s tools are still visible on the maple and spruce body. Around 600 violins made by Italian master craftsman Antonio Stradivari are still in existence.
The Lady Blunt was offered for sale by The Nippon Music Foundation, owners of some of the world’s finest Stradivari and Guarneri instruments. While this violin was very important to our collection, the needs of our fellow Japanese people after the March 11 tragedy have proven that we all need to help, in any way we can, the foundation’s president Kazuko Shiomi said in a statement. The violin was one of 21 string instruments held by the foundation, which loans instruments free of charge to top class musicians around the world.