Stradivarius violins are supposed to be the best and there are around 600 violins made by Italian master craftsman Antonio Stradivari still in existence. One of them owned by a music foundation in Japan was sold through an online auction for a record £9.8m which is close to $15.9 million. The proceeds of the auction will go to the Nippon Foundation’s Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. The violin was made in 1721 and is known as the Lady Blunt after Lord Byron’s granddaughter Lady Anne Blunt who owned it for 30 years.
Nippon Music Foundation owns some of the finest Stradivari and Guarneri instruments. The foundation loans instruments free of charge to top class musicians around the world. The violin was one of 21 string instruments held by the foundation. Kazuko Shiomi, foundation President believes that the violin was one of the most important instruments in their collection but the cause of helping the Japanese victims of the March 11th tragedy was even greater and that’s why the foundation came forward to help in whatever way they could.
Tarisio, the London auction house that organized the sale, felt the gesture of the foundation was very generous to give up the finest piece from their collection for sale. Well-known collectors and experts including WE Hill & Son, Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, the Baron Johann Knoop and Sam Bloomfield have owned this violin earlier. The identity of its new owner has not been revealed. The Lady Blunt was last auctioned in 1971 and even then it had fetched a record price of £84,000. But this time it has set a record which is four times the previous record for a Stradivarius.