stradivarius violin up for auction. Credit: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Rare inlaid Stradivari violin up for auction

Culture News

A rare 1679 violin made by renowned Italian craftsman Antonio Stradivari is up for auction next month. The Stradivarius could fetch over €10million.

Christie’s auction house describes the “Hellier” Stradivarius as “the finest inlaid violin ever made by… Stradivari and one of the finest Stradivarius instruments in existence”. The violin will be offered for sale at auction on July 7th in “The Exceptional Sale”.

Stradivari kept the instrument for 55 years, selling it in 1734 for 40 pounds to Samuel Hellier of Wombourne, England. Inlaid with ivory diamonds and finished with a golden varnish, the violin has a price estimate of £6-9 million pounds (€7.05-10.57 million).

“I expect a lot of interest for such an instrument because it is so rare that it comes out of a museum,” violin expert and Christie’s consultant Florian Leonhard told Reuters.

Stradivari’s violins are known for their exquisite craftsmanship. They cost between €8 million and €20 million, according to Leonhard.

“Of the roughly 1,100 instruments Stradivari made over the course of his career, only around a dozen are embellished with decoration, and this specimen is regarded by the Smithsonian curators as the best-preserved extant example,” Christie’s said in a statement.

Violinist Braimah Kanneh-Mason played the instrument at a preview and described it as “beautiful”.

“These kinds of violins are often compared to sports cars, you have to firstly learn how to drive them, but once you learn how to manoeuvre it’s incredibly rewarding,” he said.

Roman antiquities also on sale

The Roman marble head of Hermes and a Roman marble urn are some of the lots from English aristocratic collections. They are from the fabled Lansdowne Collection and the Hope Collection, respectively. Both are emblematic of the greatest Grand Tour collections formed in the 18th/early 19th centuries. 

The head of Hermes is expected to reach £3-5million (€3.53-5.88million). The Roman cinerary urn, meanwhile, has an estimate of £200,000-300,000 (€235,120 – 352,680).

Leave a Reply