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Stradivari Viola Could Set World Record Selling Price

Timi DiSalvoComment

A rare Stradivari viola to be auctioned this Spring via sealed bid is expected to set a world record for the most expensive musical instrument ever sold – the starting bid is $45 million. The viola will be shown at Sotheby’s premises in New York on 27 March, and in Hong Kong on 4 April. It will also be shown to media in Paris, France, on 15 April.

This Viola is called "MacDonald" named after Godfrey Bosville, the 3rd Baron Macdonald, who purchased it in 1820.  It is one of only ten surviving violas made by the master luthier.

The current auction record is held by the ‘Lady Blunt’ Stradivarius violin of 1721, which was sold by the Nippon Music Foundation in June 2011 for £9.8m.  In January 2013 the 1731 ‘Vieuxtemps’ violin by Giuseppe Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ was sold by London dealers J.&.A. Beare  to an anonymous buyer for an undisclosed sum, although Beares confirmed that the price exceeded £9.8 million.



Antonio Stradivari was an Italian luthier and a crafter of string instruments and is generally considered the most significant and greatest artisan in this field.  Stradivari's crafted his instruments in Cremona, Italy.  From the 16th century onwards, Cremona was renowned as a center of musical instrument manufacture, beginning with the violins of the Amati family, and later included the products of the Guarneri and Stradivari shops.

We were able to visit Cremona, Italy this past fall.  The town of Cremona, rich in musical history, is a still hub for the instrument-making world today. There is a school for luthiery  and on many street corners, one can see signs for various luthiers who work throughout the town.   We work with a Luthier in Cremona, Dimitri Atanassov, whose instruments have become popular for their quality of sound, playability and afordability.  You can purchase a custom, handmade violin from Dimitri through Appassionato Musical Instruments.