$10 Million Stradivarius Violin to be Auctioned for Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund

A Stradivarius violin made in 1721, which last sold privately for $10 million, will go on auction on 20th June 2011 to raise money for the Nippon Foundation’s Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. The event will be managed by the auctioneers Tarisio.

The “Lady Blunt” violin was owned for thirty years by Lady Anne Blunt, granddaughter of the famous English poet Lord Byron before entering the Nippon Music Foundation collection. It is one of two fine examples of the work of Stradivarius – the Messi was donated to the Ashmolean Muesum in Oxford by the family of Mr. Andrew Hill, The Nippon Music Foundation’s instrument advisor.

Christopher Reuning, past president of the American Federation of Violin-makers, explains the importance of the pair:

“Along with the ‘Messie’ of 1716, the 1721 ‘Lady Blunt’ stands above all other Stradivari violins in terms of its survival in near perfect, original condition. In a way, the mythology and romantic lore that precedes these two violins tend to overwhelm the objects themselves. It is, indeed, a rare privilege for any violinist, maker, expert or enthusiast to view and examine such an astonishing violin. At that moment, the words vanish and the violin proceeds to tell its own incredible story.”

The Parisian violin dealer and maker, Jean Baptiste Vuillaume made some alterations to the violin before selling the instrument to Lady Blunt in 1864. The piece then passed through a number of dealers and owners, even appearing at the 1987 Stradivari exhibition in Cremona. Andrew Hill advised on the last two sales of the violin and will now oversee the auction for the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.

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