Giuseppe Guarneri 'del Gesù', Cremona, 1735, the 'Ladenburg, Odnoposoff'

Violin: 40121

Labeled, "Joseph Guarnerius fecit / Cremona anno 1735"

Back: One-piece

Length of back: 35.1 cm

Upper bouts: 16.5 cm

Middle bouts: 11.15 cm

Lower bouts: 20.25 cm


"The instrument's owner, Dietmar Machold of Machold Rare Violins, agreed to let Mr. McDuffie keep playing the Ladenburg (named for the German banking family that owned it in the mid-19th century) while he looked for a way to pay for it. That long and arduous quest, full of false starts and harsh doses of reality, came to a successful conclusion yesterday in the office of the Wall Street law firm Seward & Kissel. There, a group of 16 investors calling itself 1735 del Gesù Partners L.P., officially purchased the Ladenburg from Mr. Machold for the express purpose of leasing it to Mr. McDuffie.

There are 16 partners in all, including Mr. McDuffie and Mr. Machold; the shares cost $100,000 each. Mr. McDuffie does not pay rent; his obligation is to play the violin, so it will maintain its value, and to pay for its maintenance and insurance, which he estimates at $15,000 to $20,000 a year. At the end of the 25-year lease (actually 23; it is retroactive to 1998), Mr. McDuffie is to return the instrument to the partnership, which intends to sell it, presumably at a profit.

The violin was appraised in 1999 for $3.5 million by the violin consultant in Christie's musical instrument department. It has already more than doubled in value since Mr. Machold purchased it from a collector in Europe under a confidential arrangement for $1.2 million in 1989."

Investment Opportunity. Strings Attached.; Musician and 15 Partners Join Forces to Acquire a Multimillion-Dollar Violin, Susan Elliott, The New York Times

"Interestingly there is a violin with irrefutable, documented Nazi ties that Gaines and Reich neglected to report on, despite their apparent awareness of the instrument and its provenance: The Ladenburg del Gesu violin, sold by the firm of Machold in 1998, to patron Herbert Axelrod for a reported $4,000,000.00. More recently a group of investors including violinist Robert Macduffie purchased the Ladenberg from the New York violin dealer, Machold for the concert use of Mr. MacDuffie in a transaction that was widely reported on in the press. The Ladenberg del Jesu has a checkered past which is recounted by the Swiss dealer Henry Werro in a letter printed in the Machold monograph on the violin.

Werro writes to a one time owner of the Ladenburg, Ricardo Odnoposoff with details of the provenance of the violin and it’s having been the sold to the "Goëbbels Stiftung" in 1942/43. Werro further mentions that although the violin was offered for sale to him shortly after the war. Werro passed on the prospective purchase, "as I had my doubts for political reasons, which in the meantime seem to have vanished and to be lapsed." Why this verifiable case of a Nazi violin failed to make it into Reich and Gaines article about Nazi violins is a mystery."


from 1820 Ladenburg
until 1878 Ernst Ladenburg
from 1878 Eugen Stettheimer
from 1931 Unknown
until 1939 Hamma & Co.
1939 - 1942 Henry Werro
from 1942 Hamma & Co.
- Göbbels Stiftung
until 1949 Walter Stross
1949 - 1956 Schoppe
1956 - 1957 N. Ostenrieder
1957 - 1958 Dr. Bernhard Sprengel
from 1958 Emil Herrmann
- Ricardo Odnoposoff
from 1975 Anonymous
1992 - 1998 Dietmar Machold
1998 - 2001 Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod
from 2001 Current owner

Known players

Nicolò Paganini, Ricardo Odnopossoff, Robert McDuffie, Walter Stross

Certificates & Documents

  • Certificate: Machold Rare Violins, New York, NY (1998)
  • Certificate: Machold Rare Violins, New York, NY (1994)
  • Letter: Henry Werro, Bern (1959) To Ricardo Odnoposoff. States that Hamma sold the instrument to 'Göbbels Stiftung' around 1942/3.
  • Letter: Hamma & Co., Stuttgart (1959) To Ricardo Odnoposoff.
  • Certificate: Emil Herrmann (1958)
  • Letter: Hamma & Co., Stuttgart (1957) To Dr. Sprengel.
  • Certificate: Hamma & Co., Stuttgart (1957)
  • Certificate: Eugen Tenucci, Zurich (1952)
  • Letter: W. E. Hill & Sons, London (1949)

Copies of many certificates and other documents are available on request. Please contact us for more information.


  • Evelyn & Herbert Axelrod Stringed Instrument Collection, Herbert Axelrod, 2002 (illustrated)
  • The New York Times, Susan Elliott
  • Italian Violin Makers (2001), Teruhiko Sato, Nippon Gengakki, Tokyo, 2001 (illustrated)
  • Italienische Geigenbauer (1957), Karel Jalovec, Artia, Prague, 1957 (illustrated)
  • Ars Musica, Aloys Greither, Bayer AG, Heft 10, 1973-1975 (illustrated)
  • Joseph Guarnerius del Gesù, Cremona 1735, Ex-"Ladenburg", Machold Rare Violins, 1998 (illustrated)
  • Meister Italienischer Geigenbaukunst (8th Edition), Walter Hamma, Florian Noetzel Verlag, Wilhelmshaven, 1993 (illustrated)
  • Private Papers
  • The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (illustrated)
  • This Violin is Worth $3.5 Million Why?, June, 2002


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