Forty years ago, when the 1721 Stradivarius known as the Lady Blunt came up for auction, it sold for over $200,000—an astonishing amount at the time. By 2008, when the fiddle changed hands again, the price was rather higher: $10m. Now the violin’s owner, Tokyo’s Nippon Music Foundation, has announced it will auction the Stradivarius on June 20 for the benefit of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami victims.
Some 600 Stradivari exist today. What makes this one special is that so few people have played it. In fact, it appears new. Which could be good or bad—concert violinist Pinchas Zuckerman considers it a museum piece, in need of an overhaul. “You’d crack it if you put too much pressure on it.” On the other hand, says violin dealer Peter Biddulph, it’s “the world’s best-preserved Stradivari violin.” The instrument takes its name from Lady Ann Blunt, an early owner who was a granddaughter of Lord Byron. Tarisio, an online auction house, will handle the bidding.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal.