Most expensive musical instrument sold: Stradivarius violin sets world record (Video)
LONDON, UK -- The nonprofit Nippon Foundation has sold a renowned Stradivarius violin for $16 million at a London auction to raise money for tsunami disaster relief , setting the world record for the Most expensive musical instrument sold at auction.
Photo: The Japanese music foundation has sold a renowned Stradivarius violin for US$16 million at a London auction to raise money for tsunami disaster relief - setting the new world record for the Most expensive musical isntrument sold at auction. (enlarge photo)
The previous Guinness world record for the most money paid for a musical instrument at any auction was for a violin, known as the 'Hammer', made in 1707 by Antonio Stradivari in Cremona, Italy, and which sold for $3.5 million.
Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the largest string ensemble: it consisted of 392 players on violin, viola, cello and bass playing Pachelbel's Canon in D as part of String Jam '10 at Juanita High School, Kirkland, Washington, USA.
An anonymous bidder at the Tarisio auction house paid £9,808,000 ($15,894,000, 11,076,000 euros) for the 1721 "Lady Blunt" Stradivarius, over four 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 W.E. Hill said.
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.
Around 600 violins made by Italian master craftsman Antonio Stradivari are still in existence.
The nonprofit Nippon Foundation said the proceeds from selling the nearly 300-year-old violin known as the Lady Blunt will go to relief projects in northern Japan.
The group's music affiliate owned the violin made in 1721 and hardly used. The new owner was not identified.
Foundation spokesman Hideo Fukuda said the group plans to use the proceeds to support and promote traditional arts in the region.
"The Nippon Music Foundation sees the instruments in its care as irreplaceably important," the group said before the sale.
"However, it has decided that the extremity of the disaster in northeastern Japan is something that overrides such feelings and is therefore selling the instrument to aid the people of that area," it said.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami left more than 23,000 people dead or missing in northeastern Japan and destroyed hundreds of homes, offices and factories.